Orthopaedic Surgery

General description of the work Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons undertake

The Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon deals with operations and procedures involving the bones and joints. He/She deals with fractures and trauma to the bones as well as reconstructive surgery of the bones and joints. He/She deals with neck and back injuries involving soft tissue as well as ligament injuries and joint reconstruction.

Common fractures dealt with by the Orthopaedic Surgeon include fractured clavicle, rib, scaphoid, humerus, radius, ulna, femur and tibia as well as fractures involving the small bones of the hands and feet.

Reconstructive surgery involves hip and knee replacement operations as well as surgery on the ligaments of the knee, ankle, shoulder and hand.

The Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon is often involved in the management of patients after a road traffic accident with soft tissue injuries of the neck, back and chest.

Most common clinical areas / procedures leading to a claim of clinical negligence

  • failure to diagnose a fracture
  • poor outcome following a fracture
  • infection following a bone operation or procedure
  • the management of shoulder injuries
  • missed slipped femoral epiphysis
  • poor outcome following a hip replacement
  • disparity in leg length following a hip replacement
  • poor outcome following a knee operation

Sub–Specialities / Alternative and Additional job titles

Some Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons deal mainly with trauma patients and their NHS post may be as a Consultant in Accident and Emergency. Some Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons have a special interest in hand, knee, hip, shoulder or ankle surgery. Some have a special interest in operations on children (Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgery).

Usual Qualifications

The Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon will be known as Mr rather than Dr and will have FRCS (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons) after his name. He may also have FRCS(Orth) (Specialist Fellowship in Orthopaedics) after his name.

Academic Appointments

The Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon may be a Lecturer or Professor of Orthopaedics at a Medical School. He/She may be an Examiner for one of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons.