Elective rotation in Orthopaedics

Filed Under (Rotations) by Dave on 06-05-2010

So for my elective rotation I went with orthopaedic surgery.  More specially orthopaedic hand surgery.

Well to be clear the doctor I was with was a hand specialist, but saw patients with any type of orthopaedic problem.

I was really caught off guard by how much I enjoyed this rotation. There was a good balance between clinic work and time spent in surgery.

I actually got to assist in many hand surgeries such as carpal tunnel and trigger fingers and also got to do total knee and hip replacements.  There were actually a few times I got to assist other doctors with things like ACL repairs, clavicle repair and amputations.

The one thing I can say about orthopaedics is that it is a field of its own.  Like a lot of fields in medicine, there is a whole different language for orthopaedics.

I have to say, I went into this rotation thinking I was pretty good at reading x-rays, but quickly found out there was a lot to learn.  I think I came out of this rotation being able to quickly and effectively read x-rays.

One of the tricks that I learned was to look at the site of injury last.  For example, if you know that the patient hurt their right wrist, look at the fingers and distal forearm first and then look at the wrist.  I was told this is a good way to make sure you don’t miss anything.  Lets say you get really focused on the wrist injury and only look at that on the x-ray.  There may have been a secondary break somewhere that isn’t hurting yet that you missed on the x-ray but could have found.

Anyway, so i’m now sure that orthopaedics is where I want to end up!

OK now for books and things that are a real help for orthopaedics:

http://www.wheelessonline.com/ -Not really a book, but it has everything you will need as a student and then some.  There are many pictures and everthing is in an outline form that is easy to read and understand.  Best of all you can click on a bone of the skeleton and learn about anything you could ever want to know about it.