The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons defines an orthopedic surgeon as:
a physician devoted to the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of injuries, disorders and diseases of the body’s musculoskeletal system.
Medical Doctors (MD) or Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) may be orthopedic surgeons who have completed a five-year surgical residency focused on the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. They specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of almost all bone and joint disorders, including:
Some orthopedic surgeons focus their practice only on spine surgery, some on other types of joints (e.g. knees, hips, shoulders). An orthopedic spine surgeon specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of injuries, disorders and diseases of the spine.
What’s more, an orthopaedic spine surgeon follows the patient all the way from prevention through diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. Regardless of the treatment, whether it is non-operative or operative treatment of the spine, the patient will remain under the direct supervision of the spine specialist. Additionally, the spine surgeon will continue to have contact with the patient with follow-up visits and follow the progress of the patient through rehabilitation, especially after surgery.
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