An orthopedic and trauma surgeon like James P DeVellis is responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of various musculoskeletal problems, and particularly the joints and bones. As such, they are internal movement specialists, understanding the nerves, muscles, tendons, and ligaments like no other medical specialist. They offer both local and general work and often encourage people to voluntarily seek treatment as soon as possible so that they can avoid surgery and opioid medication. Indeed, the opioid epidemic continues to expand through the country and medical professionals play a vital role to help reduce that. Unfortunately, there continue to be allegations that physicians do not check their patients’ medical history enough, with almost daily news items about people getting away with doctor shopping simply by presenting as an old fox.
James P DeVellis on What Trauma and Orthopedic (T&O) Specialists Do
There are two main elements to the role of a T&O specialist:
- Trauma, dealing with acute injuries to the musculoskeletal system. This includes fractures, breaks, and dislocations. This can be something minor, such as a low energy fracture in an elderly patient, to something major such as a road traffic accident. Alternatively, it can be in relation to joint and bone infections.
- Degenerative and congenital conditions, tumors, and infections.
These specialists work with patients of all ages.
Common T&O Procedures
- The joint arthroscopy, whereby an arthroscope (thin tube with light) is entered into the joint to find out what the problem is. This is usually completed on the knee. It is a good diagnostic tool for arthritis and for ligament and cartilage damage. It is minimally invasive and can also include surgery to remove inflamed tissue, torn ligaments, or floating cartilage.
- The bone fracture repair, whereby metal plates, rods, pins, or screws are used to put a bone into position. How this is done depends on the fracture and location thereof, but is designed to stabilize the bone. Some bone grafts may also be required.
- The arthroplasty, whereby a full joint has been replaced as a result of rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. Hip and knee replacements are the most common ones. Thanks to advances in medical science, other forms of treatment such as partial knee resurfacing are now also becoming available.
- General tendon or muscle repair following acute or chronic injuries and illnesses.
- Corrective surgery such as knee cap (patella) realignment. This ensures people continue to have their full range of motion available. It is often offered to babies who are born with deformities.
T&O specialists use the latest tools and techniques available and most procedures are now minimally invasive. They also often use 3D navigation and robotic surgery. They will have been trained to do this during medical school, postgraduate studies, and residencies, as well as through supervision.
Sub-Specializations for T&O Specialists
Sub-specializations also exist for these specialists. Most have completed training in such a specialization, including:
- Treating a certain part of the body, such as the pelvis, upper limb, hand, elbow, shoulder, ankle, or foot.
- Joint reconstructions such as the knee or hip.
- Orthopedic oncology for cancer patients.
- Pediatric surgery.
- Surgery of the spine.
- Sports injuries.
- Complex trauma.