Reconstructive orthopedic surgeons go through extensive training in surgical reconstruction of the musculoskeletal system, the system of bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and related structures in the human body. Reconstructive orthopedic surgeons are trained to perform a wide range of surgical procedures to treat patients that have received substantial injuries as a result of sports or physical activity, blunt force trauma (such as an automobile accident) or complications associated with aging, as well as other causes.
Reconstructive orthopedic surgery is a highly specialized field of Orthopaedic medicine that focuses on the surgical reconstruction of the musculoskeletal system, or bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and related structures.
Orthopaedic surgeons who practice reconstructive orthopedics provide care to increase the patient’s quality of life, as well as attempting to return the affected area of the body to full or near-full functionality. Although all reconstructive surgeons are trained to repair damage to the musculoskeletal system in general, some may specialize in a certain area, such as pediatric reconstructive surgery (children), shoulder and elbow reconstruction or joint replacement, which include shoulder, hips, and knees. They may also perform total joint revision surgeries.
Reconstructive orthopedic surgeons complete a rigorous program of study before they are able to provide care to patients. After completing a four-year undergraduate degree focused on the sciences, the student must complete four years of medical school, resulting in an MD or DO degree. Medical school provides the student with the basic knowledge and training in general medicine.
After graduating from medical school, a residency in orthopedic surgery is required. This training typically lasts five years and allows the physician to gain first-hand knowledge and experience in a wide range of orthopedic fields. Generally, the first year of residency training is spent in general surgery; the final four years are spent focusing on orthopedic surgery and the musculoskeletal system.
To receive further training in reconstructive orthopedics, the physician will typically complete highly specialized fellowship training. Reconstructive orthopedic surgeons usually complete a one-year fellowship in adult reconstruction but may complete more specialized fellowships in areas such as total joint reconstruction or adult hip/knee reconstruction. Following completion of the educational and training requirements, the surgeon will often seek board certification from the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.