What Is An Orthopedic Surgeon?

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August 31, 2023
Operation room with surgeon in Coeur d'Alene

If you have ever experienced pain, stiffness, or swelling in your bones, joints, muscles, or ligaments, you may have wondered what kind of doctor you should see. The answer is an orthopedic doctor like Dr. Stowell, also known as an orthopedic surgeon or an orthopedist. In this blog post, we will explain what an orthopedic doctor does, what types of conditions they treat, and what types of procedures they perform.


What is an Orthopedic Doctor?


There are 23,000 Orthopedic Surgeons in the U.S. In Idaho, the ratio is 8.86 orthopedic surgeons per 100,00 people, according to Becker’s ASC Review. So, what is an Orthopedic Surgeon? An orthopedic doctor is a medical specialist who focuses on diseases and conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system includes your bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints, and nerves. It is responsible for supporting your body structure, enabling your movement, and protecting your vital organs.

Dr. Richard Lee Stowell in Operating RoomAn orthopedic doctor like Dr. Stowell can diagnose and treat a wide range of musculoskeletal problems, such as fractures, sprains, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, bone cancer, and more. He can also help you with rehabilitation after an injury or surgery and advise you on how to prevent further damage or complications.

Dr. Stowell can perform surgery on your musculoskeletal system if needed, but he will usually try other treatments first. Some of these treatments include exercises, immobilization, medications, and lifestyle changes.

An orthopedic doctor can specialize in a specific area of the musculoskeletal system, such as the spine, the hip and knee, the hand, the shoulder and elbow, the foot and ankle, or sports medicine. Dr. Stowell specializes in shoulder and elbow treatments. Depending on an orthopedic doctor’s specialty, they may have additional training and certification in that field. Dr. Stowell has completed 14 years of formal education to receive the honorable designation, Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. He is fellowship-trained in shoulder and elbow at the prestigious CORE Institute.


How to become an orthopedic doctor?


To become an orthopedic doctor, one must complete at least 13 years of education and training. This includes:

  • A bachelor’s degree
  • Medical school
  • A 5-year residency in orthopedic surgery at a major medical institution
  • One year of education within an orthopedic subspecialty (optional)


After completing their residency, an orthopedic doctor must practice in the field for 2 years and then take a final exam to be officially recognized by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Stowell has completed 14 years of formal education and continues to be at the forefront of helping advance the profession of orthopedic surgery through his research contributions and by designing orthopedic instruments, 6 that are patent pending.


Why see an Orthopedic Doctor?


You may need to see an orthopedic doctor if you have any of the following symptoms or conditions:

  • Pain, stiffness, or swelling in your bones, joints, muscles, or ligaments
  • Difficulty moving or performing daily activities
  • Reduced range of motion or flexibility
  • An injury to your musculoskeletal system
  • A chronic condition that affects your musculoskeletal system
  • A deformity or abnormality in your limbs or spine
  • A tumor or growth in your bones or soft tissues


Orthopedic doctors like Dr. Stowell are experts in treating the musculoskeletal system. They can help you with a variety of issues that affect your bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. If you have any questions or concerns about your musculoskeletal health, don’t hesitate to contact an orthopedic doctor today.

An orthopedic doctor like Dr. Stowell can help you diagnose the cause of your problem and recommend the best treatment option for you. They can also help you recover from your condition and improve your quality of life.

If you think you may need to see Dr. Stowell, talk to your primary care doctor or if your insurance allows, you can make an appointment to consult with Dr. Stowell directly.  Dr. Stowell has a network of reputable orthopedic doctors that he trusts. If your issue needs attention by a different specialist, you can trust Dr. Stowell to refer you to the best orthopedic doctor for you.

What is an FAAOS Qualified Orthopedic Surgeon?

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