English 9 Accelerated
11 April 2012
Orthopedic Surgeon: The Career of Bones
With our technology-advancing society, the numbers of existing careers are greatly increasing. In today’s culture there is a diverse spectrum of careers ranging from musician to proctologist. When choosing a career, one usually identifies their skills, in order for their expertise to be utilized in a job. Every career is vital and necessary, because it benefits the society as a whole; not just one person. One career that benefits people physically, mentally, and emotionally is the job of an orthopedic surgeon. Orthopedic surgery is now becoming progressively prevalent due to the importance of athletics in our culture. Becoming an orthopedic surgeon is difficult due to the numerous aspects of the career that one must excel in. In order to be an orthopedic surgeon, one should explore the many facets of the career.
The history of orthopedic surgery reveals the advancement of technology used in the career. The term “orthopedics” is derived from the Greek words for “correct” (orthos) and “child” (paidion), which later formed into a broader term. Jean-Andre Venel is considered by some to the father of orthopedics, or the first true orthopedist. Venel established the first orthopedic institute in 1780, which was the first hospital dedicated to the treatment of children’s skeletal deformities. Many of the developments in orthopedic surgery resulted from experiences during wartime. On the battlefields of the middle Ages, the injured were treated with bandages soaked in horses’ blood, which then dried to form stiff but unsanitary, splints. Splinting and traction further developed during World War II, with the help of Dr. Kunchner of Germany. Dr. Kunchner used intramedullary rods to treat fractures of the femur and tibia, which made a noticeable difference to the speed of recovery of injured German soldiers. This then led to a more widespread adoption of intramedullary fixation of fractures in the rest of the world. The external fixation of fractures was refined by American surgeons during the Vietnam War; however a major contribution was made by Gavril Abramovich Ilizarov in the USSR. Ilizarov was sent to look after injured Russian soldiers, but he was provided with no equipment. With the help of a local bicycle shop, Ilizarov devised ring external fixators tensioned like the spokes of a bicycle. This equipment allowed him to achieve healing, realignment, and lengthening to a degree unheard of elsewhere. Gavril Ilizarov’s apparatus is still used today. Another orthopedic surgeon famous for advancement in the medical field is David L. MacIntosh. David L. MachIntosh pioneered the first successful surgery for the management of the torn anterior cruciate ligament of the knee. This injury is common and serious in skiers, field athletes, and dancers due to permanent joint instability. MacIntosh devised a way to re-route a viable ligament from adjacent structures to preserve the strong and complex mechanics of the knee joint, as well as restore stability. The development of MacIntosh’s ACL reconstruction surgery has allowed numerous athletes to return to the demands of sports at all levels. Sir John Charnley of England is another surgeon who made a vital advancement in the field of orthopedics. Sir John Charnley pioneered the first, modern total hip replacement in the 1960’s. Since Charnley, there have been continuous improvements in the design and technique of joint replacement (arthoplasty) with many contributors. Along with the history of the career, an orthopedic surgeon must also be educated in the job tasks in which the career holds.
An orthopedic surgeon holds many job tasks that aren’t necessarily simple. An orthopedic surgeon is a physician devoted to the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and rehabilitation of injuries, disorders, and diseases of the body’s musculoskeletal system....
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