Why is fellowship training important?
In order to become an orthopedic surgeon, all surgeons must go through a rigorous training program including undergraduate college (4 years), medical school (4 years), internship and orthopedic surgical residency (5 years). Once the surgeon has passed a rigorous set of board exams, the physician is deemed a general orthopedic surgeon and is capable of doing most orthopedic surgical procedures.
However, some surgeons will choose to spend anadditional year to further their studies in a special subset of orthopedic surgery, such as sports medicine, arthroscopic surgery, joint replacement, or foot and ankle surgery, and spine surgery to name a few. This additional, optional year of training is called a fellowship.
Typically, the “Fellow Orthopedic Surgeon” will work with one of the world’s experts in that particular field and do a tremendous number of surgical cases to hone his/her skills in that area. Because they are already trained orthopedic surgeons, the amounts of hands-on surgery that they are able to do far exceeds that which might have been done in residency. In addition, they will further the research of that field of orthopedics and develop new technologies.
At Oklahoma Joint Reconstruction Institute, all of our physicians are fellowship trained joint replacement specialists. We feel that this additional training is essential to providing our patients with the highest level of state-of-the-art care in the field of orthopedic surgery and joint replacement. This ensures our patients that as the field of adult reconstruction continues to advance, our surgeons will always be of the cutting edge of new technologies.
What is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon?
To become board certified, you must complete and pass a grueling set of exams over several years. These exams are referred to as “boards exams”, these voluntary, yet exhaustive tests have a big impact on a medical doctor’s future. At Oklahoma Joint Reconstruction Institute, we only hire surgeons that are either board certified (already passed boards) or board eligible (preparing to take boards). As you research potential doctors of any specialty, make sure board certification and fellowship trainingare on your must-have list. Beyond knowing that your doctor has passed a rigorous set of tests performed by a set of his or her peers, here are some additional reasons why board certification is important.
Physicians choose their board specialty for many reasons. In our case we are board certified or board eligible orthopedic surgeons. This helps the general public to know they are receiving care from a physician who has demonstrated mastery in general orthopedic surgery. In the case where fellowship training is achieved, patients benefit from the knowledge that their surgeon has additionalexpertise in the treatment of advanced disease and complex surgery. In addition, board-certified orthopedic surgeons are steeped in the principles of medical ethics and must abide by a formal code of conduct to practice medicine with integrity and professionalism. In fact, board-certified doctors must pledge to a strict, enforceable code of ethics, which is centered on patient care. Board certified orthopedic surgeons are held to a continuing education requirement. Board certifications can only be maintained through continued education. Board certified surgeons are constantly evaluated on medical advancements, research, and evolving best practices. They are also continually tested on this information to assure the public that their surgeon is up to date on the latest surgeries and treatment techniques. It may seem logical that physicians who pass strident exams and maintain continual learning offer better results for their patients. Scientifically, this topic has been researched and proven. A finding published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports, “We conclude that a physician’s current certification status should be among the evidence-based measures used in the quality movement.” In other words, board certification yields higher-quality healthcare. Board certified surgeons are held to the highest standards regarding advanced knowledge, integrity, continued education and advancement, improved outcomes, and accountability and we feel this is essential to exceptional patient care.