Best Medical Schools For Orthopedic Surgery

Last Updated on August 12, 2022

Preparing for a career in orthopedic surgery is a demanding, lengthy process. It takes years of hard work and dedication to finish medical school, complete a residency in general surgery, and so on. But when all is said and done, there’s no better reward than being able to help people who have been in terrible accidents or have been born with birth defects.

All doctors complete the same basic graduate education. They spend four years at medical school getting a broad medical education and participating in clinical rotations. Medical school students do not choose a major; instead, they specialize by completing a residency and optional fellowship after medical school. Below, we’ve summarized some helpful questions to ask yourself when researching the top medical schools for orthopedic surgery.

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What do orthopedic surgeons do?

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Orthopedic surgeons specialize in preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system. As an orthopedic surgeon, you’ll be trained in the surgical repair of bones, joints, muscles and tendons. If you want to specialize your practice even further, you can choose from subspecialties in sports medicine or hand surgery. In addition to performing surgeries, you’ll also be responsible for conducting patient exams and providing follow-up care. Read more about the best medical schools for surgery.

SpecializationsSports medicine, hand surgery
Education RequirementsBachelor’s degree with prerequisite courses, medical school, appropriate clinical rotations
Residency InformationAfter medical school, you will need to complete an orthopedic surgery residency
Other QualificationsYou will have to pass the USMLE exam or COMLEX exam depending on what medical school you attended; can also opt for board certification
Median Salary (2021)$384,201 (for all orthopedic surgeons)*
Job Outlook (2019-2029)2% decline (for all surgeons)**

How Much Education Do I Need?

You’ll need extensive education to work as an orthopedic surgeon. Most medical schools require that you complete at least a bachelor’s degree program to be accepted. While your undergraduate degree doesn’t have to be in a specific subject, you’ll need to take science prerequisites, including inorganic and organic chemistry, biology and physics.

Once in a medical school program, you’ll spend your first two years taking basic science courses, such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology and pathology. You’ll spend your final two years in clinical rotations, learning how to care for patients under the supervision of experienced physicians.

What Happens After Medical School?

After you graduate from medical school, you’ll need to enter a residency program in orthopedic surgery. These programs are usually around five years in length. While you are enrolled in an orthopedic surgery residency program, you’ll be required to complete training in general surgery your first year before you begin your orthopedic surgery training.

As a resident, you’ll attend lectures and conferences, conduct research and complete clinical rotations in areas such as hand, spine, trauma and shoulder surgery. If you would like to further specialize in the area of orthopedics, you can opt to complete a fellowship program after you complete your residency, which usually takes an additional year.

Do I Need Any Additional Qualifications?

You must earn a medical license in order to practice. If you graduate from an allopathic medical school, you’ll need to pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). If you graduate from an osteopathic medical school, you must pass the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam (COMLEX).

As an allopathic surgeon, you may also opt to earn board certification in orthopedic surgery through the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (www.abos.org). You can apply to take the certification exams after graduating from an accredited medical school, earning your medical license and completing at least five years of residency training.

You’ll need to first pass a written exam, then go into practice for at least 22 months and undergo a peer review, after which you can take the oral examination to become board certified. You need to complete 120 hours of continuing education every three years and pass a recertification exam every ten years to maintain your certification. If you have completed a fellowship in hand surgery, you can also earn subspecialty certification, which is valid for ten years.

If you are an osteopathic surgeon, you may earn optional board certification through the American Osteopathic Board of Surgery, which entails a similar process and similar eligibility requirements (www.aobos.org). However, in addition to written and oral examinations, you’ll need to pass a clinical exam.

Osteopathic board certification is good for ten years, after which time you’ll need to pass an exam to recertify. As with allopathic surgeons, you’ll also need to complete 120 hours of continuing education every three years. The AOBOS does not offer subspecialty certification.

Best Medical Schools For Orthopedic Surgery

Richard S. Hoffman, MD

1. George Washington State University

The mission of the George Washington University Department of Orthopedic Surgery is to serve, educate and advance the study and practice of orthopedics. By providing a comprehensive program of education, training and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, we foster sound clinical judgment in order to provide for all patients with the best possible outcome from injury or disease.

We recognize that our practice must be founded on an understanding of research and its relationship to treatment. Our faculty are committed to continuous self-education and pursuit of new therapeutic options that will improve outcomes for patients.

Washington Orthopedic Surgery (WOS) is committed to providing the best orthopaedic care for all of our patients. We are especially proud of our pioneering work with minimally invasive surgery, which is now part of the daily practice at WOS. Our surgeons provide more than 600 of these procedures each year, making us one of the largest centers in North America.

The Department of Orthopedics at the GW Medical Faculty Associates is a nationally and internationally recognized center for the treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal injuries and sports medicine. The diverse clinical practice encompasses all areas of general orthopedics, joint replacement, sports medicine, joint replacement and joint preservation, hand surgery, and Scoliosis. This award-winning group provides innovative state-of-the-art approaches to the management of orthopaedic diseases such as knee osteoarthritis and total joint arthroplasty for people of all ages.

2. University of Rochester Medical Centre

The University of Rochester Medical Centre is recognized as one of the premier orthopedic surgery centres in the United States. Our orthopedic surgeons have performed more joint replacement surgeries than any other institution in the United States, providing compassionate care for over 30 years.

The University of Rochester Medical Centre is a recognised leader in orthopedic surgery, offering a variety of hip and knee replacement options. Our surgeons have been performing high-quality surgeries since 1956. Over those decades, we have been able to develop a vast experience with the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques as well as improve upon our scientific process for evaluating and managing patient outcomes. By providing a single source of expertise, we can ensure that patients receive world-class care from surgeons who provide the best rehabilitation results.

Doctors from our Orthopedic Surgery department at the University of Rochester Medical Centre have been caring for patients with musculoskeletal problems for more than 30 years. In that time, our surgeons have developed a successful approach to treating bone and joint injuries.

3. University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Orthopedic Surgery was created to address your unique needs after your orthopedic surgery. Our multidisciplinary team consists of experienced surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and dietitians who focus on your pain management, rehabilitation, safety and overall well being.

Our goal is to help you recover safely and quickly so that you can return to your daily activities as soon as possible. Our team includes both surgeons that perform the procedure you need along with specialists that provide care before, during and after surgery.

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Orthopedic Surgery (UHHOS) department is our new center for leading-edge orthopedic care. It’s home to some of the top orthopedic physicians in the state, including fellowship trained orthopedic surgeons, musculoskeletal radiologists, physiatrists (doctors specializing in rehabilitation), sports medicine doctors and nurses, and other specialists. From hip, back, knee and shoulder pain to traumatic injuries like fractures and dislocations, UHHOS is here for you.

4. Thomas Jefferson University

For decades, Thomas Jefferson University Orthopedic Surgery has helped thousands of patients regain their mobility. Led by the principal surgeons on the orthopedic surgery staff at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, our expert surgical team is fully prepared to handle any orthopedic procedure you require. From total joint replacement to pediatric orthopedics to sports medicine and neuromuscular care, we have the expertise and experience to deliver compassionate care that yields optimal outcomes.

The surgeons at Thomas Jefferson University Orthopedic Surgery provide the highest quality orthopedic care for patients with head, neck, back, knee, shoulder and hip pain or injuries. With a full range of surgical and non-surgical treatment options, optimized by our team of highly experienced physicians, physical therapists, nurses and other health care professionals, we are committed to relieving your pain while optimizing your function.

5. University of Pennsylvania

Penn Orthopedics is committed to providing compassionate orthopedic care of the highest quality. We are dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disease, specifically focusing on hip and knee replacement surgery. Our surgeons have extensive experience with these procedures, both in the operating room and through continuing education.

Surgery consists of removing the tumor and reconstructing the surrounding area to strengthen the hip and prevent future problems. Surgery may last between one and four hours, depending on the size and location of the tumor and if there are any complications.. Our spinal surgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons specialize in surgical and nonsurgical treatments for scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, spine fractures, spinal instability/instability syndromes, sports medicine.

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6. Case Western Reserve University

The Case Western Reserve University Department of Orthopedic Surgery is one of the largest centers in the Midwest for joint replacement, which consists of total knee and hip arthroplasty. The clinics are located at Cleveland Clinic’s main campus at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.

We offer a comprehensive range of orthopedic surgical services and we perform more than 5,000 orthopedic surgical procedures each year in our operating room and angiographic suite. Our top-ranked orthopedic surgeons provide the full spectrum of trauma care, surgical treatments, and rehabilitation for all musculoskeletal conditions.

Whether treating patients with fractures, tumors ,severe arthritis, sports-related problems ,severe knee damage or other orthopedic concerns, Case Western Reserve University Orthopaedics provides the highest quality specialty care for our patients.

7. University of Pittsburgh

University of Pittsburgh Orthopedic Surgery specializes in total joint replacement surgery, sports medicine and arthroscopic surgical procedures to treat chronic pain resulting from sports, work or everyday activities. University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery is a leading center for orthopedic care, treatment and research.

Our specialists offer expertise in shoulder, knee, hip, bone and joint replacement surgery as well as sports medicine. Our surgeons also specialize in the treatment of traumatic injuries that result from falls, car accidents or sports injuries. We want you to have a healthy knee, shoulder or hip for a long lifetime, so we work with you to achieve that goal.

The University of Pittsburgh has made orthopedic surgery one of the largest specialties of its kind in the world. Consultation with world-renowned orthopedic surgeons is just a small part of what they do at Pitt, which includes internationally recognized centers for genetic research, spine care, sports medicine, rehabilitation, and bone-, joint- and muscle-related disorders.

8. John Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins orthopedists are dedicated to making your orthopedic surgery as safe, effective, and convenient as possible. Learn more about what to expect from the experienced Johns Hopkins surgeons who care for patients with hip, knee, shoulder, wrist, elbow, ankle, or foot pain or damage.

John Hopkins has been at the forefront of orthopedic, trauma, musculoskeletal, sports medicine and minimally invasive surgery for over 100 years. Now they are bringing their expertise to your home with our certified, fully adjustable knee brace.

Located in the Tyson Building, our state-of-the-art, full service facility is staffed by a team of orthopedic surgeons and musculoskeletal specialists who are dedicated to providing patients with quality care. Our orthopedic surgeons have advanced training in adult reconstructive surgery, pediatric orthopedics, trauma care, sports medicine, arthroscopy and neuromusculoskeletal medicine.

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9. University of South California School of Medicine

The University of South California School of Medicine Department of orthopedic surgery includes top-tier programs in comprehensive adult and pediatric care, sports medicine, trauma, technology, surgical education, musculoskeletal oncology, hand surgery, microvascular surgery, pediatric orthopedics and a new program that incorporates a focus on the use of technology in surgery.

Our education programs are rated among the best in the nation. The USC School of Medicine Orthopedic Surgery residency program is a traditional 4-year study program for those who wish to become board certified orthopedic surgeons.

The first two years – the Preliminary and the First – consist of didactic and operative clinical training in patients with acute and chronic diseases and conditions and during these years, residents take on increasing responsibility and accountability to the patients under their care. The Second and Third Years consist of adult rotations in adult medicine, neurosurgery, trauma, spine surgery, adult orthopedics, pediatric orthopedics, hand surgery, sports medicine and women’s health.

10. University of California (San Diego)

The orthopedic surgery program at UCSD is one of the country’s best, thanks to a full-time staff supported by a highly trained operating room staff and a dedicated group of specially trained physical therapists. You’ll work in a well-equipped clinical setting renowned for being an innovator in teaching orthopedic procedures. And you’ll have access to the latest techniques and technology, including robotic surgery.

The UCSD Orthopaedic Surgery residency program will leave alumni to practice in a very competitive yet nurturing academic environment. Our program strives to provide our trainees with the psychosocial and professional resources needed to improve their surgical skills and confidence, while not forgetting to foster their personal and family life.

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