Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Orthopaedic Surgeon?
An orthopaedic surgeon is a medical doctor who specializes in the treatment of the musculoskeletal system. This system includes bones, joints, nerves, tissues, muscles, and any related painful conditions.
When a physician has completed an orthopaedic residency and/or fellowship training, the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery offers a written test to become board-eligible. If the written test is passed, the physician becomes "eligible" to take the oral test after two years in practice. When the physician passes the oral exam, the physician becomes "board-certified" and is considered a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.
What is a Board Certification?
The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons (ABOS) certifies orthopaedic surgeons. To become "board certified" (following completion of a residency program and two years after entering practice) the orthopaedic surgeon must first pass a written test, then complete an extensive oral examination that includes the presentation of the results of the surgical procedures performed to date for a team of orthopaedic surgeons' review.
To maintain "board certification," the surgeon must take an additional test every 10 years and prove that he or she has attended a minimum number of hours of continuing education.
What is Fellowship Training?
Many orthopaedic surgeons choose to obtain special training in a specific area of orthopaedic surgery. This requires a "fellowship" that usually lasts 6 months to one year. During the fellowship, the orthopaedic surgeon works with one or several experts in a specialized field of orthopaedic surgery to become even more experienced in certain areas, such as joint replacement, spinal surgery, hand surgery, children's orthopaedics or sports medicine, to name a few. Following resident or fellowship training, some orthopaedic surgeons limit their practice to those areas they are specialized in.
What is Surgeon Training?
Orthopaedic surgeons are medical doctors or osteopaths, meaning they:
What is a Physician Extender?
Physician extenders (PA/NP) are highly trained health care professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. Physician extenders are physician assistants (PA) and nurse practitioners (NP) who see patients in the office as well as assist the physicians in surgery.