What does an orthopedic surgeon do?
I’m an orthopedic surgeon in Colorado Springs, although I frequently travel all throughout Colorado, from Pueblo up to Denver. It takes about 9 to 10 years of training to become an orthopedic surgeon which includes four years of medical school, and five years of orthopedic surgery residency. So with all that training, what does an orthopedic surgeon do? Orthopedic surgeons are experts of the musculoskeletal system or in other words bones, joints, muscles, and everything in between. We take care of all things related to the spine, arm, shoulder, elbow, hand, wrist, leg, hip, knee, shin, foot, and ankle.
Should I see an orthopedic surgeon even if I don’t need surgery?
If a part of your arm, leg, or back is hurting then the answer to this question is yes! While an orthopedic surgeon does surgery, we also treat many things that don’t need surgery. The most important thing is for you to get an accurate diagnosis as to why you have pain in your back, arm, or leg. While your primary care doctor may be able to take care of some things well, they also have to take care of every other organ system in your body. As an orthopedic surgeon, we only work within the musculoskeletal system, and are the specialists for these issues. Without an accurate diagnosis, any treatment that you get will have a much lower probability of working. It’s kind of like taking a medication when you don’t know what you are treating, it probably won’t work.
What kinds of treatments can an orthopedic surgeon do?
Here in Colorado Springs, I carry everything around me to give steroid injections, cast, splint, and suture wounds. We can also get a stuck ring off your finger! If someone needs surgery, then we can do that as well. Some of the kinds of surgeries we do include spine fusions, knee scopes, ACL reconstructions, shoulder scopes, surgeries of the hand, foot, and ankle. We also do surgery for those involved in bad accidents who may have broken a leg or arm. I do my surgeries in a surgery center outside of the hospital, although many orthopedic surgeons will work in the hospital also. Overall, seeing an orthopedic surgeon is a good place to start if you have pain in your neck, back, arm or leg that doesn’t seem to be getting better. Your orthopedic surgeon can help you whether you need surgery or even if you don’t.
I hope I was able to answer your questions about what an orthopedic surgeon does. If you still have any questions or want to schedule an in person (in the greater Colorado Springs area) or virtual consult, please feel free to contact me.
-Written by Dr. Daniel Paull