Finding an Orthopaedic Surgeon
Finding an orthopaedic surgeon close to you may be easier than you expect. Ask your family doctor if he or she can recommend a surgeon, or explore the Surgeon Locator section of this web site to find specialists in your area. Once you identify one or more surgeon(s), you can evaluate their credentials.
Orthopaedic surgeons can be certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons. To become board certified, the surgeon must pass examinations given two years after entering practice. To maintain board certification, the surgeon must take additional tests every 10 years and attend a minimum number of hours of continuing education.
Many orthopaedic surgeons choose to specialize even further and obtain special training in a specific area of orthopaedic surgery. This requires even more training in the form of a "fellowship". A fellowship usually lasts six months to one year. During the fellowship, the orthopaedic surgeon works with one or several experts in a specialized field of orthopaedic surgery. This allows the orthopaedic surgeon 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 fellowship training, some orthopaedic surgeons limit their practice to those areas that they are most highly trained in. The larger the town, the more likely you will find orthopaedic surgeons who are "subspecialists" that limit their practice to just a few areas.
Last Updated: 12/13/2006