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The musculoskeletal system provides support, stability and movement for the body and protects vital organs. It comprises 206 bones, approximately 650 muscles and countless ligaments, tendons and joints. Musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction can stop people of any age from working and enjoying life. An orthopedic surgeon can help.

The first step to finding an orthopedic surgeon is talking with your primary care doctor or asking friends and family for recommendations. You can also check the website of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, which has an online search tool. Most importantly, find out if your surgeon is board certified. You want someone who has demonstrated mastery of the specialty by passing certifying exams administered by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Understanding the Role of an Ortho Surgeon: What to Expect

Once you’ve found a doctor, make an appointment to discuss your symptoms and medical history. During the visit, your doctor will do a physical examination and may order diagnostic tests such as an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI.

Having the right doctor can be crucial to your recovery and getting back to work, play or home life faster. An orthopedic surgeon will review all treatment options with you and answer any questions you have about surgery or other treatments, such as injections. You will have the final decision about whether to proceed with surgery. Most patients with musculoskeletal injuries are referred to an orthopedist by their family doctors or primary care physicians.

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