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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Orthopaedics is the branch of medicine dealing specifically with the treatment or correction of diseases or deformities of the bones, tendons and atrophied muscles. Orthopaedic surgeons are qualified doctors specializing in this field of medical treatment, using appropriate medication, often in conjunction with surgery.

Orthopaedic surgeons treat diseases such as osteoporosis, osteomyelitis, rickets, Paget Disease and osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease). They may refer patients to rheumatologists who specialize in treating patients with tendonitis, rheumatic conditions and arthritis.

Some surgeons work specifically on mending broken bones while others choose to specialise in such areas as foot and ankle orthopaedics, orthopaedic sports medicine, paediatric orthopaedics, adult reconstructive orthopaedics, musculoskeletal oncology, orthopaedic spine surgery, hand surgery and orthopaedic trauma.

An orthopaedic surgeon restores functions through surgery, due to disease or injury, to the ligaments, tendons, joints, bones, nerves and muscles, but may also use physical, medical and rehabilitative methods when necessary. They often use laser surgery to trim, or remove torn cartilage in the knee or other injured areas. Arthroscopic surgery scopes out areas for treating muscular disorders or damaged joints and is minimally invasive surgery. A surgeon commonly uses shoulder arthroplasty on shoulder fractures that are often sports-related or found on patients suffering from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, which replaces the ball-and-socket joint.

Satisfying Aspects
- improvement in a patient’s confidence as a result of their changed appearance after successful treatment
- very high financial earnings

Demanding aspects
- working long and irregular hours
- being on call in case of emergencies
- frequent travelling between consulting rooms and hospital to attend to patients

- patient and kind
- scientifically minded
- ethical and professional
- able to make quick and sound decisions under emergencies
- willing to continue studying in order to keep up with medical advances
- have good communication skills
- accurate and meticulous
- good coordination

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences

Note: Competition to enter medical studies is stiff and there are usually many applicants with excellent grades who would naturally be given preference.

- Theoretical training: 6 years
- Student internship: 1 year
- Practical work at a hospital: 1 year (also known as the house doctor year).

Post-graduate study for specialisation as an orthopaedic surgeon: 4 years - e.g UP, UFS, US, UL, Wits.

Additional Requirements: before commencing post-graduate study for specialization as an orthopaedic surgeon, the candidate must:

- be in possession of a MBChB degree for 2 years
- be registered as a medical doctor with the Interim Medical and Dental Council (IMDC) of South Africa for 1 year.

Registration: On successful completion of the examination to qualify as a specialist, the candidate must register with the IMDC as an orthopaedic surgeon

- private practice
- hospitals and other health care facilities
- medical schools
- sports clinics

South African Orthopaedic Association
P O Box: 12918
Brandhof, 9324
Kellner Park
Suite 10
Bloemfontein, 9301
Tel: (051) 4303 280
Fax: (051) 4303 284