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 specialise 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.


How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course

Each institution has its own entry requirements.

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


What to Study

MBChB degree at UP, UCT, UFS, Wits, US, UL, UKZN:


  • Theoretical training: 6 years

  • Student internship: 1 year

  • Internship: 2 years

  • Community Service: 1 year at an approved medical faculty.



Registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is mandatory for this occupation. Registration as an Independent Medical Practitioner with the HPCSA will only be permitted once all the necessary criteria have been met.


Specialisation in Orthopaedics


To specialise in this area, a number of years of post-graduate study will be required.

Consult the HPCSA website for the most up-to-date information relating to this area of specialization. This information can be found in the various sections under the Professional Board for Medical and Dental (and medical science) professionals.
Refer to the medical faculty of the relevant university for additional information. 

 


Employment


  • private practice

  • hospitals and other health care facilities

  • medical schools

  • sports clinics


Further Information

Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)
P O Box 205, Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 338-9300
Fax: (012) 328-5120
E-mail: hpcsa@hpcsa.co.za
www.hpcsa.co.za


South African Orthopaedic Association
P O Box: 12918
Brandhof, 9324
Kellner Park
Suite 10
Westdene
Bloemfontein, 9301
Tel: (051) 430-3280 Fax: (051) 430-3284
E-mail: info@saoa.org.za
www.saoa.org.za


Getting Started


  • obtain permission to speak to an orthopaedic surgeon about this career

  • find holiday or part-time work in a hospital or clinic

  • do a course in first aid with St John Ambulance, for example


Programmes by Study Institutions

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