What is the Difference Between Orthopedic Doctor and Orthopedic Surgeon?

If you are looking for a specialist for your orthopedic problems, you should know which specialist you want to visit. If you have been advised to go to an orthopedic clinic, don’t simply type “orthopedic doctor near me” in your search bar. You may want to know the difference between an orthopedic doctor and an orthopedic surgeon first.

But don’t worry, because I will explain everything you need to know. Although these specialists sound very similar, some significant differences separate the two. Before we look into it, let’s first define what orthopedic medicine is.

Orthopedic Medicine

Orthopedic medicine is a branch of medicine that is dedicated to the muscular and skeletal systems, including muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, bones, and pain management when a patient suffers injuries from aging, sports, and other physical activities. Here are some of the common conditions that would fall under orthopedic care:

Bone fractures and breaks

Whiplash and other soft tissue injuries

Neck pain

Back pain

Shoulder pain


Scoliosis and other congenital conditions

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Sports injuries, such as ACL tears, meniscus tears, and tendinitis


Orthopedics also works with other specialists like physical therapists and pain management experts, especially when a patient needs to recover from serious body injuries or trauma. Whether you have experienced trauma, injury, birth defects, or conditions that have developed over time involving the musculoskeletal system—an orthopedist or orthopedic surgeon can help. But which should you choose?

What Does an Orthopedic Doctor Do?

An orthopedic doctor meets with patients with concerns about their musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic doctors will identify the conditions, discuss, diagnose, and provide ways to treat the conditions. These doctors can help you by providing tools like splints, casts, and braces, and sometimes, they can also help you reset broken bones without surgery.

Based on an orthopedic doctor’s experience, they can also provide you with additional care, which includes physical therapy and more. If you have a serious bone or tissue injury requiring surgery, they can provide you with counseling before and after the procedure by assisting you with recovery. Orthopedic doctors do not perform surgical processes but will refer you to an orthopedic surgeon who can. However, the primary orthopedic doctor who places you as a candidate for surgery will be the one to check up on you until you are fully recovered after the surgery.

What Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Do?

On the other hand, an orthopedic surgeon can perform all the tasks of an orthopedic doctor and the surgical process you need to recover from your condition. If your condition is quite serious and clearly needs surgery based on the damage and pain you feel, going straight to an orthopedic surgeon is your best bet. Here are some of the surgeries they can perform:

Bone fusion

Internal fixation, such as screws and plates to attach bones

Joint replacement


Soft tissue repair


Finding an Orthopedic Doctor Near Me

Suppose you have been injured or some injury has developed over time. In that case, the first step is visiting an orthopedic clinic like Regenesis Orthopedics if you are in St. Petersburg or surrounding areas. They can immediately help with your problems and perform the right procedures for your recovery. For more information, click here.





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