Orthopedic surgery or orthopedics (also spelled orthopaedic surgery and orthopaedics in British English) is the branch of surgery concerned with conditions involving the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic surgeons use both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors, and congenital disorders.
Nicholas Andry coined the word "orthopaedics" in French as orthopedie, derived from the Greek words orthos ("correct", "straight") and paideion ("child"), when he published Orthopedie (translated as Orthopaedia: or the Art of Correcting and Preventing Deformities in Children) in 1741. The correction of spinal and bony deformities became the cornerstone of orthopedic practice.
orthopedic surgeons have typically completed four years of undergraduate education and four years of medical school. Subsequently, these medical school graduates undergo residency training in orthopedic surgery. The five-year residency consists of one year of general surgery training followed by four years of training in orthopedic surgery.
Selection for residency training in orthopedic surgery is very competitive. Approximately 700 physicians complete orthopedic residency training per year in the United States. About 10 percent of current orthopedic surgery residents are women; about 20 percent are members of minority groups. There are approximately 20,400 actively practicing orthopedic surgeons and residents in the United States. According to the latest Occupational Outlook Handbook (2011–2012) published by the United States Department of Labor, between 3–4% of all practicing physicians are orthopedic surgeons.