Reconstructive orthopedic surgeons have extensive training in the surgical reconstruction of the musculoskeletal system, our system of bones, joints, tendons, ligaments and related structures.

Watch an Overview of Reconstructive Orthopedic Surgery

About Reconstructive Orthopedic Surgery

Reconstructive orthopedic surgery is a highly specialized field of medicine that focuses on the surgical reconstruction of the musculoskeletal system, or bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and related structures. Reconstructive orthopedic surgeons are trained to perform a wide range of surgical procedures to treat patients that have received substantial injuries as a result of sports or physical activity, blunt force trauma (such as an automobile accident) or complications associated with aging, as well as other causes.

Surgeons who practice reconstructive orthopedics provide care in an effort to increase the patient’s quality of life, as well as attempting to return the affected area of the body to full or near-full functionality. Although all reconstructive surgeons are trained to repair damage to the musculoskeletal system in general, some may specialize in a certain area, such as pediatric reconstructive surgery (children), shoulder and elbow reconstruction or joint replacement, among other specialized areas.

When providing care, reconstructive orthopedic surgeons may perform a wide range of operations. Common operations performed in reconstructive orthopedics include joint replacement surgeries of the knee or hip; procedures such as these are vital to mobility and can vastly improve a patient’s quality of life. Again, the overarching goal of reconstructive orthopedics is to restore functionality to affected limbs or areas.

Reconstructive Orthopedic Surgery Education & Training

Reconstructive orthopedic surgeons complete a rigorous program of study before they are able to provide care to their patients. After completing a four year undergraduate degree focused on the sciences, the student must complete four years of medical school, resulting in an MD or DO degree. Medical school provides the student with the basic knowledge and training in general medicine.

After graduating from medical school, a residency in orthopedic surgery is required. This training typically lasts five years, and allows the physician to gain first-hand knowledge and experience in a wide range of orthopedic fields. Generally, the first year of residency training is spent in general surgery; the final four years are spent focusing on orthopedic surgery and the musculoskeletal system.

To receive further training in reconstructive orthopedics, the physician will typically complete highly specialized fellowship training. Reconstructive orthopedic surgeons usually complete a one year fellowship in adult reconstruction, but may complete more specialized fellowships in areas such as total joint reconstruction or adult hip/knee reconstruction. Following completion of the educational and training requirements, the surgeon will often seek board certification from the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. Reconstructive orthopedic surgeons must be issued a medical license from the state(s) in which they practice.