Orthopedic Surgery

What Is Orthopedic Surgery?

Orthopedic (or orthopaedic) surgery is any surgical procedure that involves the musculoskeletal system. This includes bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and cartilage. Originally, orthopedic surgery was referenced only in the abnormal development of children and how to best help them overcome any functional issues they had.

These days, orthopedic surgery is considered a cornerstone of modern medicine and has expanded to include anyone suffering from a medical condition involving the skeleton or musculature.

What Do Orthopedic Surgeons Do?

Orthopedic surgeons specialize in correcting mechanical and functional issues present in bones, muscles and connective tissue.

Orthopedic surgeons typically undergo a four year pre-med degree at university, followed by an additional four years of medical school. Once they have graduated, they spend another four to five years in residency at a hospital to hone their skills and knowledge in orthopedics. Every orthopedic surgeon is extremely skilled in their field and takes the utmost care with their patients to ensure a smooth recovery.

All orthopedic surgeries are performed under general anaesthetic due to their usually invasive nature. Examples of surgeries that orthopedic surgeons perform include resetting broken bones, reattaching torn ligaments and muscles, installing metal plates to improve stability or healing, and replacing worn out joints such as hips or knees.

Orthopedic surgeons looking at patient x-ray

Who Needs Orthopedic Surgery?

Orthopedic surgery covers a wide range of conditions and many different types of patients may need to meet with an orthopedic surgeon.

Anyone suffering from a broken bone, from the spine to the leg, may need to have surgery to correct it. Sports injuries are common causes for needing orthopedic surgery, as torn ligaments and muscles are relatively common in contact sports. Age is another factor when looking at orthopedic surgery, as joints can wear down over time and require replacing, especially hips and knees.

Some cases can be helped with physical therapy before having to make the decision to proceed with invasive orthopedic surgery. Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital has a well established Physical Therapy department that can assist with any patient whose conditions do not yet require surgery.

How Are Orthopedic Surgeries Assessed?

Before you head into the operating theatre, there will be extensive diagnostics and assessments run to ensure all issues are treated effectively and that your recovery time can be as fast as possible.

You will have a consultation with your orthopedic surgeon, who will ask you a range of questions relating to your pain levels, mobility, and overall quality of life. You will likely be asked to get x-rays, MRIs, or ultrasounds so that the doctors can understand fully what is happening in the problem area and can create an action plan accordingly.

You may also be asked for blood tests or biopsies to determine levels of certain important nutrients and compounds in your body prior to surgery to ensure you will be fit enough to recover. A detailed patient history will also be collected to ensure any allergies or past negative reactions to medications are avoided.

What Orthopedic Surgeries Do We Perform?

At Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital, we are proud to offer a comprehensive suite of orthopedic surgeries by one of the most experienced orthopedic surgeons in the Upper Peninsula. Some of our offered surgeries include:

  • Total Hip Replacements
  • Joint and Ligament Repair
  • Full Knee Replacement
  • Shoulder Reconstruction
  • Hand Surgery
  • Elbow Surgery
  • Total shoulder replacement
  • Bone and Tendon Grafts
  • Bunionectomy
  • Arthroscopic Surgeries of the Knee, Ankle, Shoulder,Elbow
  • Knee Ligament reconstruction

Orthopedic surgeon explaining to patient what is wrong with spine

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Orthopedic Surgery?

Recovery time for orthopedic surgery can vary significantly based on how extensive the surgery was, your age, overall health, and if there are any complicating factors.

For example, a standard knee replacement may only take 30 to 45 minutes of actual surgery, but standard recovery times are usually between four to six weeks. This is because of the invasiveness of the surgery and the high number of different factors involved in the healing process.

On the other hand, a surgery such as a shoulder reconstruction can take up to six months to fully regain proper use of the joint. This surgery is much more complex and involves a larger area of the body with more musculature, and so complete recovery is a time consuming process.

Overall a typical recovery period for an orthopedic surgery is generally around six weeks. You do not want to rush recovering from these kinds of surgeries, as it may impact your ability to regain normal function in the future.

John Galey, M.D.

Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon

John Galey, M.D.

John Galey, M.D.

Dr. Galey comes to us from the International Orthopedics & Sports Medicine practice in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Earning his medical degree from the prestigious University of Toronto Medical School in Ontario Canada, Dr. Galey interned at Toronto General Hospital and completed his residency at the University of Ottawa, in Ottawa Ontario.

Dr. Galey is fellowship trained in Joint Replacement & Sports Medicine and is Board Certified through the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.

Dr. Galey currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer for Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital focusing on:

  •  Total Hip Replacements
  • Joint and Ligament Repair
  • Full and Partial Knee Replacement
  • Shoulder Reconstruction
  • Hand Surgery
  • Scoliosis Treatment
  • Elbow Surgery
  • Bone and Tendon Grafts
  • Bunionectomy
  • Arthroplasty Joint Replacement of Finger and Toe
  • Arthroscopic Surgeries of the Knee, Ankle, Shoulder, and Wrist
  • Knee Surgeries