An orthopedic (also spelled orthopaedic) surgeon is a medical doctor (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) who has completed a five-year residency on the surgical treatment of musculoskeletal conditions after finishing medical school. Orthopedic surgeons treat most musculoskeletal conditions, including arthritis, trauma and congenital deformities, with surgical and non-surgical techniques. Many orthopedic surgeons elect to do further subspecialty training, known as fellowships, after their residency training. Fellowship training usually lasts one year and often has a research component that includes clinical and operative training.
Orthopedic Spine Surgeons
Orthopedic spine surgery is one of nine main sub-specialty areas of orthopedic surgery. An orthopaedic spine surgeon has completed additional training in spine surgery, such as a spine fellowship, and specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of spinal diseases and conditions. Some orthopaedic spine surgeons exclusively treat certain spinal problems, such as scoliosis, degenerative disorders or a particular region of the spine, such as the cervical spine (neck) or lumbar spine (lower back). They may also treat trauma and spine tumors. CSO’s three spine surgeons are fellowship-trained in orthopedic spine surgery and perform minimally invasive spine surgery, total disc replacements, spinal fusion and spinal decompression, among other procedures.
A physiatrist is a physician who has completed four years of medical school, a one-year internship and three years of residency training. Physiatrists treat amputation, spinal cord injury, sports injuries, stroke, musculoskletal pain syndromes (such as low back pain), fibromyalgia and traumatic brain injury. Physiatry (also called physical medicine and rehabilitation, abbreviated as PM&R) deals with the functional restoration of a person affected by a physical disability. PMR involves managing disorders that alter a patient’s function and performance. The emphasis is on optimizing function by combining medications, physical modalities and physical training with therapeutic exercise, movement and activities modification, adoptive equipment and assistive devices, orthotics (braces), prosthesis and experiential training approaches.
A nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse who has completed a master’s degree in nursing and has additional training in diagnosing and managing common and complex medical conditions. They are licensed by the state where they practice and are board certified (usually by the American Nurses Credentialing Center or American Academy of Nurse Practitioners).
The core philosophy of the field is individualized care. NPs focus on patients’ conditions and on the effects of their illness on their and their families’ lives. Many nurse practitioners have a DEA registration number that allows them to prescribe federally-defined controlled medications.
A physician assistant (PA) is an advanced practice clinician licensed to practice medicine under a licensed physician’s supervision. PA’s are different than medical assistants, who perform administrative and clinical tasks in hospitals and clinics.The PA profession emerged in the mid-1960s due to the shortage and uneven geographic distribution of U.S. primary care physicians.
PAs obtain medical histories, perform examinations and procedures, order treatments, diagnose illnesses, prescribe medication, interpret diagnostic tests, refer patients to specialists and assist in surgery.