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What Does an Orthopaedic Surgeon Do?

As a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon practicing in the greater Atlanta area, I, along with my fellow partners at OrthoAtlanta, treat thousands of patients every year. One of the reasons many of us chose this career is that we can have a positive and relatively quick impact on our patients’ lives. Although we cannot fix every injury, the majority of treatment options available usually help us reduce our patients’ pain and improve their function, even when a definitive cure is not possible.

Unfortunately, the experience of sustaining an orthopaedic injury is not a pleasant one. However, the majority of these injuries can be treated and usually heal within six to eight weeks. The biggest mistake I see patients make is that they do not see an orthopaedic surgeon when they first suspect a serious injury. If you or a loved one sustains a significant injury that does not improve within 48-72 hours, then you should seek professional care.

For example, some broken bones require surgery, but a majority can be treated effectively with casts, braces, and/or activity modification. Yes, broken bones can heal without professional treatment, but when led to their own healing, they often heal in improper positions, leading to lifelong problems.

In addition to fixing broken bones, orthopaedic surgeons also treat a variety of musculoskeletal injuries, such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Just like broken bones, these injuries can be very painful and if not properly treated, result in a significant decrease in quality of life. Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of these injuries can be effectively treated in a relatively timely manner as long as appropriate treatment is not delayed.

Surgeons also act as remodelers, replacing diseased bone joints with new joints through joint replacement surgery. This treatment option is for those suffering from arthritis who no longer receive pain relief from non-operative options. With innovative technology, high quality implants and an expertly-trained surgeon, patients can return to the things they love. Hip, knee and shoulder replacements are performed in the thousands across the country every year with high success rates.

Even though a visit to your orthopaedic surgeon may seem like a hassle, remember we often can have you back on your feet and participating in your favorite activities sooner than you think. So, don't be afraid to take the road less traveled - seek timely and appropriate treatment and get back to this journey called life.