How to Become an Orthopedic Surgeon in USA 2023

Victor Okoma

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Becoming an orthopedic surgeon could take years of studies and practice, but the outcomes are always worthwhile. According to research from the University of Pennsylvania, an orthopedic surgeon profession requires about 14 years of formal education.

This education helps you to obtain board certification with the vast majority of professionals, performing private practices. Of course, the orthopedic surgeon is a highly specialized physician, dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of skeletal injuries and muscles.

However, I am going to tell you things you need to know about orthopedic surgeons, how much they earn, how to become, and more.

Orthopedic surgeons are doctors who specialize in the treatment of the musculoskeletal system and can specialize in areas such as sports medicine or hand surgery.

Although, Orthopedic disorders and conditions may range from congenital deformities to musculoskeletal injuries, trauma, and tumors.

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These surgeons perform a series of operations on patients who are under general anesthesia. The field also provides qualified individuals with the chance to build lucrative careers in hospitals, academic medical centers, or private practice environments.

The orthopedic surgery career path requires a maximum of 8-9 years of post-baccalaureate education, alongside continued maintenance of board certification.

Who Can Become an Orthopedic Surgeon?

Orthopedics can be a complex field, and various subspecialties have emerged. In order to specialize or become an orthopedic, further training in the form of a fellowship is usually required.

On the contrary, if you’re planning or want to know if you could become an orthopedic surgeon while doing this, your undergraduate coursework should include topics in biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and physics.

These courses can help you prepare for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), a standardized examination that tests an applicant’s knowledge of the physical and biological sciences, verbal reasoning and writing abilities, and critical thinking skills.

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What is the List of Orthopedic subspecialties?

Orthopedic has more than 9 subspecialties, but we would be listing five (5) most demanding subspecialties which are:

1. Foot and Ankle Surgery

Many different conditions and injuries can affect the foot and ankle. Orthopedic surgeons can specialize in treating injuries and conditions that particularly affect this area of the body.

2. Spine Surgery

The spine is a complex area of the body. There are many conditions that can develop with tablets, ligaments, bones, and muscles. Orthopedic surgeons can choose to specialize and treat people with back and spine diseases.

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3. Sports surgical medicine

Participating in sports can sometimes lead to musculoskeletal injuries. Common injuries can include torn ligaments, tension fractures, and dislocations. Sports surgical medicine doctors treat sports-related bone injuries.

4. Orthopedic Trauma

Traumatic injuries (such as a car accident) cause certain types of conditions. Bone trauma surgeons can treat crushing injuries, amputations, and complex fractures.

5. Pediatric Orthopedics

Children with orthopedic diseases cannot be treated in the same way as adults. As your bones and muscles continue to grow, special care must be taken when treating your condition. Pediatric orthopedic doctors focus on the care of children with various orthopedic conditions.

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How Long Does it Take to Become an Orthopedic Surgeon?

In the race of becoming an orthopedic surgeon, you must first complete a four-year bachelor’s degree program that generally includes one year in biology, two years in chemistry, and one year in physics.

While the other four years in medical school will follow. The first two years will be in the classroom, while the last two years are mostly in the hospital.

During this time, you must pass the National Council tests: one after the second year of medical school and another during the fourth year (the last test is usually taken during the first or second year of graduate training).

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Educational Background

Depending on your educational background, you would graduate as a doctor of medicine (MD) or as a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO).

After that, you must apply to start the residency program. The program will consist of four years of study focusing on the basics of orthopedics.

During this time, you will rotate through the main subspecialties in different hospitals to get a practical demonstration of the various surgical techniques.

While ending your stay, you can choose to apply for a one- to two-year scholarship to receive an exact orthopedic specialty.

Board Certification

You will need to follow the board certification completion of your orthopedic training.

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In this case, you must perform a peer review and pass the oral and written tests administered by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery (ABOS) or the American Osteopathic Board of Orthopedic Surgery (AOBOS).

Once awarded the certificate, you as an orthopedic surgeon must undergo rigorous rehabilitation every 10 years.

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Therefore, you should devote time to study and attend continuing medical education courses to ensure that your knowledge is updated in line with current practices.

What Skill is Required as an Orthopedic Surgeon?

How Much is an Orthopedic Surgeon’s Salary?

The salary of an orthopedic surgeon depends largely on the reputation and level of the hospital you work in, especially at the initial level.

However, those who are at the top level can get salaries ranging from an average of $519,000 per year.

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While the salary of an orthopedic surgeon working in government hospitals is slightly lower but is adequately compensated by free accommodation and benefits.

With regard to the income of orthopedic surgeons who work spontaneously, we can say that there is no upper limit for their reward.

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