Orthopedics is a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, prevention, correction and treatment of deformities of bones or joints, ligaments, tendons, nerves and skin of patients. These are the elements contained in the musculoskeletal system of humans. Once, orthopedics was devoted to take care of children who are having limb and spine deformities. The present day orthopedic doctors take care of patients of all ages including newborns with clubfeet, young athletes with tennis elbow and elders with back pain problems.
Role of orthopedic doctor
Orthopedists are physicians who use physical, medical, rehabilitative and surgical methods in all fields of healthcare related to musculoskeletal system. Orthopedists have the responsibility and knowledge to treat immense variety of diseases like torn ligaments, bone fractures, dislocations, tendon injuries, pulled muscles, ruptured discs, bow legs, knock knees, arthritis, bone tumors, osteoporosis, cerebral palsy etc. They are well studied experienced and experts in the following matters.
- Diagnosis of the disorder or injury of the patient
- Treatment with medication and physical exercises to restore the mobility of human joints.
- Surgical procedures and other treatment plans.
- Physical therapy intended for rehabilitation of the patient and for the restoration of the movement of the joints under treatment.
- Provides information and treatment plans for the prevention and for slowing down the progression of the disease.
About 50 % of the orthopedists are devoted to non-surgical treatment of injuries or diseases and the remaining 50 % is engaged in surgical methods intended for restoring the lost movements and functionality of the joints and limbs and other organs of the body. They also work closely with other specialists in health care profession. They also serve as consultants to other doctors. They also become members of teams managing complex multi-system and play an important role in the emergency care units in hospitals.
Technological advances have recently shaped the different fields of orthopedic treatment with newer methods and procedures hitherto unknown to the physicians. Let us consider some of them.
Arthroscopy: In this procedure a visualization instrument is inserted to the joint through the incisions over the joint. The instrument will be having a camera and a light source. With the help of this device the surgeon examines the joint and if found necessary other surgical instruments are inserted through the arthroscope or through other incisions and the surgical repairing is completed.
The existing researchers are of hope that the orthopedic surgeons will be capable to stimulate growth of bones and ligaments in patients in the near future. Tremendous improvements have been noticed in the management of osteoporosis and other regenerative diseases. These surgeons are now in a position to replace the degenerated joints with prosthetic device. The process of growing articular cartilage is progressing very fast which can overcome the need for joint replacement.
Most orthopedists practice general orthopedic and there are specialists who practice in specialized wings like treatment of hand, shoulder, spine, knee, hip etc. There are also specialists in pediatrics, sports medicine, trauma care etc.
The treatment for injuries related to musculoskeletal system like muscles, ligaments, joints, bones, tendons etc or conditions like osteoporosis, arthritis, etc is the major conditions for which patients visit orthopedists.
Interesting statistical facts about orthopedic treatment
- One out of seven Americans has a musculoskeletal problem.
- Over 28.6 million people in America are incurring injuries to musculoskeletal system. This is about more than half of the injuries occurring every year in America.
- Approximately the number of musculoskeletal procedures taking place in America alone is estimated to be around 7.5 million.
- Arthritis is the most chronic condition reported by elderly Americans.
- Spine or back injuries are the most reported musculoskeletal impairments in America.
- Sprain, fractures and dislocations account for almost half of the total musculoskeletal injuries reported during an year.
In the year 1999 more than 15.3 million Americans visited orthopedic surgeons Woodbridge, VA due to back pain and related problems. Knee problems are the most treated anatomical problem in the year 1990. Around 10.1 million cases were reported in United States alone.
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