An Overview: Orthopedics -Dr. Kevin Crawford

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Overview

Orthopedics is the science of studying everything related to bones and fractures.

The primary goal of this field of medicine is to treat patients with traumatic injuries to their bones, which may require braces, splints, or complex surgical procedures.

To become an orthopedic surgeon, students must complete 4 years of medical school, followed by 5 years of training in the field of orthopedics.

Bone fractures

In general, some bones are more susceptible to get broken than others; this is especially important for athletes and those with medical conditions, such as osteoporosis.

According to statistics, 6.3 million fractures occur every year in the US alone.

The most common bone fractures are:

  • Clavicle (collar bone)
  • Arm
  • Wrist
  • Hip

Here are the four stages of bone healing after a fracture:

1. Hematoma formation

When the bone gets fractured, all the structures within and around it suffer from damage.

Most notably, blood vessels located inside the bone rupture. As a result, blood will start to leak out to the site of the fracture, causing what’s known as a hematoma.

When hematoma occurs, patients may present with severe pain and swelling around the fracture site.

2. Fibrocartilaginous callus formation

During this stage, callus forms, which is the result of cell and connective tissue deposition. The callus connects the fractured bones and helps the blood vessels to join with each other.

The second stage of the healing process happens a few days after the fracture.

3. Bone callus formation

In the previous stage, the soft callus formed by the deposition of fiber and cartilage. In this stage, however, that soft callus will transform into a bony callus, with the help of special cells called osteoblasts.

This process may take a few weeks to be completed.

4. Bone remodeling

Bone remodeling is the final stage of healing, which involves the restructuring of the bony callus to create a solid tissue that integrates with the fractured bone.

Takeaway message

The field of orthopedics focuses on treating bone fractures and other diseases that affect the bones.

Hopefully, this article simplified the complex topic of orthopedics; however, if you still have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section below.

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