An orthopaedic surgeon is a specialist who works to diagnose, treat and care for patients who have suffered traumas. Primarily, they deal with conditions that have affected muscles, bones, joints and nerves. Such conditions include tumours and fractures.

This is one of the newest specialities in surgery and is one that is key to the treatment of patients who have suffered unfortunate traumas. Orthopaedic surgeons may work in hospitals or trauma clinics, but the treatment is the same.

An orthopaedic surgeon will typically go on to specialise in one particular area in order to hone their skills. This type of surgery has become more prevalent as better surgical techniques have developed, which leads to improved treatment and recovery. Surgeons of this speciality would need to work with a variety of professionals, such as sports specialists and family doctors.

Work activities

An orthopaedic surgeon would typically conduct the following activities:

  • Collate, analyse and update patient records to ensure they are offered the best treatment and care.
  • Discuss treatment methods with patients to make sure they are okay to go ahead with treatment.
  • Maintain a good level of rapport with patients and fellow medical staff.
  • Book operation theatres.
  • Carry out surgery that deals with bones, muscles and tendons.
  • Carry out tests such as physical examinations, x-rays and MRI scans to learn the extent of patient injuries.
  • Recommend the correct course of action in order to treat patients.
  • Divide your time between treating patients through operative and non-operative techniques, as well as maintaining paper work.
  • Perform operations under stressful conditions, in which the correct decisions need to be made quickly.
  • Continue to study in order to keep up-to-date with any new developments in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
  • Dexterity and practical skills will need to be maintained.
  • Be on call for medical emergencies.

Essential skills

  • An aptitude for the sciences and medicine.
  • A good level of dexterity and practical skills.
  • Desire to improve the lives of patients.
  • Desire to keep improving your knowledge and skills.
  • Attention to detail and the ability to make the right decision during stressful times.
  • Ability to work as an individual and as part of a medical team.
  • Ability to pass on your experience and wisdom to other upcoming orthopaedic surgeons.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • A great level of interest in the medical profession.