Orthopaedic Surgery is concerned with the musculoskeletal system of the human body. Practice seeks to provide quality care to patients, which includes assessment, management, surgical and non-surgical treatment, follow up care, and rehabilitation. The term comes from the Greek work ‘ortho’ which means ‘correct’ or ‘straight’, and ‘pais,’ which means child. Historically, orthopaedics frequently applied to the care of crippled children with spine or limb deformities, however, nowadays, it applies to both the paediatric and adult population, and involves many subspecialty areas. It is underpinned by basic sciences, including the anatomy and pathology of the musculoskeletal system (including the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and nerves). It looks at biomechanics and motion, materials and engineering, immunology and inflammation, neurovascular conditions, pharmacology, radiology and other investigations. Common orthopaedic medical conditions include musculoskeletal trauma, fractures, infections, cancers and tumours, congenital disorders, degenerative diseases, and sports injuries. This field of medicine demands medical competency in clinical assessment and patient management, and surgical expertise to perform a range of procedures and provide pre-operative, intra operative, and post operative care.
Subspecialty areas in Orthopaedic Surgery relate to the body part, age of patient, or condition. These include arthroplasty, hand surgery, knee, paediatrics, oncology and sarcoma, shoulder and elbow, spine, trauma, foot and ankle, limb lengthening and reconstruction, and research. Orthopaedic health services are provided in hospitals and private clinics and involve multidisciplinary teams and collaboration between Orthopaedic surgeons and other medical, health, and allied health practitioners.