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All About Your Bones

Updated on July 9, 2017

Shoulder Replacement Illustration

Shoulder Surgery
Shoulder Surgery | Source

Greek Origin and Current Mission Statement

  • The word Orthopedics is of Greek origin: Orthopaedia (meaning straight child).
  • Currently, the American College of Orthopedic Surgeons defines this health care field of study as:

"The medical/surgical specialty that includes the investigations, preservations, restoration and development of the form and function of the extremities, spine and associated structures by medical surgical and physical methods."

The Father of Orthopaedics

Orthopedics in America, first got its inspirational boost as a field of research for combating congenital birth defects, polio, and other muscular and bone degenerate diseases in children. The father of Orthopedic surgery in the United States, is the renown Dr. Lewis Albert Sayre. From 1820–1900 he was so inspirational in the causes of muscular and degenerative bone diseases, which made him the clear choice to be the founding father of orthopedic surgery.

Dr. Lewis Sayre kept meticulous handwritten notes, sketches, and photographs of patients he came in contact with. As with all founding fathers in a medical field, his public image was both admired and scorned by others. Those who disapproved of his methods, were often heard invoking open criticism towards Dr. Sayre's controversial methods for treating the sick. However, it was these same controversial treatments that quickly attracted praise; when his methods were proven fact, just by the increasing success rates found in his recovering patients. He most outstanding accomplishment as a doctor was not only found in the children he helped to heal, but rather from making gigantic strides for physicians. They would soon lead to the assisted aid and support for establishing a charter and being recognized by the American Medical Association, as a newly founded field of medical study.

Surgical Scrub

Julie in my surgical gear before surgery.
Julie in my surgical gear before surgery. | Source

My Surgical Experiences

I am not writing this article to list my resume but surgery is my life. I have worked in Orthopaedic surgery, heart surgery, brain surgery, abdominal surgery to plastic surgery. I have been a surgical assistant to an Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon in Columbia, Missouri for four years, then making a change in June of 2014.

I love working with bones. Bone doctors are amazingly intelligent, puzzle-solvers. They actually get an adrenaline rush when they piece a compound fracture back together perfectly, or when they help someone walk for the first time without pain. It is an outstanding field to work in, and I immediately fell in love with Orthopaedic care.

Bone doctors (layman terms) sometimes do not have the best bedside manners. It is often difficult for them to explain a procedure without using medical terminology. They are very logical thinkers, and although they know that most people might not have their intelligence, they do not know how to dumb something down in common terms. It has been my discovery that most of the surgeons I have dealt with, do not try to be super smarty pants, they just are and do not know how to be anything different.

What Have You Had Worked On?

Have you ever had Orthopedic surgery?

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Understanding What the Doctor is Saying to You

  • Just knowing some of these basic facts about bone anatomy, would greatly help patients and their overall understanding of what their physician or Orthopedic surgeon might be trying to explain. If a patient is going in for major back surgery, hip replacement, shoulder repair, etc., it is truly on the patient to educate themselves on what is going to be done to their bodies. Good surgeons do complex surgeries all day, five days a week. Fusing a spine together or removing ribs is routine stuff however, it is not routine procedure that the average person has done. Therefore, if a patient does not understand exactly what is going to happen and the areas that are going to be in contact with a scalpel, then the recovery time seems to take longer, and the patient has a harder time postoperatively in general.

Bone Tissue Landmarks Illustration

Bone Tissue Layers
Bone Tissue Layers | Source

Basic Facts, Terminology, and Anatomy of Bone Tissue

Orthopaedics is the study of bone manipulation and care. There are basic terminology that a surgeon might use with a patient. If a person is about to have back surgery, neck surgery, foot surgery, hand surgery, etc., it is important that the patient is capable of understanding what the physician is saying to them. First of all, bones are considered to be living tissue, and the main source of red blood cells production. Bone cells are called osteocytes. There are two types of bone tissue:

  • Cancellous bone tissue- which contains open spaces giving in a spongy appearance. Cancellous bone is generally found at the ends of bone, and bone grafts typically come from Cancellous bone.
  • Compact bone tissue- compact bone is very dense with few open spaces. It surrounds the medullary cavity in bone, and the outside shafts of long bones, such as the Tibia, is compact bone.

Bones have a core shaft called the Medullary Canal, which is highly vascular. It is also where the production of red blood cells takes place, where bone marrow is stored, and where the production of hemoglobin occurs. The bones of adults are different from the bones of children. One significant difference between the two ages is the production and storage of yellow bone marrow. Yellow bone marrow is only found in adults. It consists of fat cells and connective tissue cells, and is also stored here in the Medullary Canal of long bones. The external layer of all bone tissue is called the periosteum. It is also the supporting structure for blood vessels found in bones, and is where muscles, tendons, and ligaments are attached. The endosteum is the thin fibrous layer of tissue, which lines the cavities found inside all long bones.

Basic Landmarks of the Humerus Arm Bone

Humerus arm bone
Humerus arm bone | Source

Bone Landmarks Definitions

Bone have landmarks, which help guide doctors around the anatomy of individual patient. Nearly every person bones are made up of similar markings, deviations, dips, grooves, and ridges. The most common types of landmarks have been identified by past surgeons, to use as specific points of origin, whenever going into area blindly or whenever needing to put bones back together. Here are the definitions and specific bone landmarks, which are used in medicine today.

  • Crest - Ridge of Bone
  • Spine - Sharp Narrow Projection
  • Condyle - Knuckle Shaped Portion of a Bone
  • Process - Projection of Bone
  • Tubercle - Small, rounded projection
  • Tuberosity - Large, rounded projection
  • Foramen - Rounded orifice in bone. Generally a passageway for vessels.
  • Sinus - Cavity within bone.
  • Sulcus - Groove in bone.

Actual Male Patient Having Orthopedic Surgery

Two Types of Fixation Systems

There are a couple types of external or internal fixation systems. Depending on the severity of a bone fracture or bone break, generally dictates what type of fixation system will be used to piece back a broken bone. Internal fixations systems use items such as titanium plates, screws, rods, and pins. External fixation systems are much more complex and use both external and internal fixation equipment.

External fixation systems are called an ORIF or Open Reduction and Internal Fixation. According Medscape, indications for ORIF cases include: open fracture, a fracture associated with neurovascular compromise, all displaced fractures, ipsilateral lower extremity fractures, irreducible fractures, and pathologic fractures.


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    Jane Fairfax 4 years ago

    This was really interesting. I would like to hear more about degenerative bone diseases though. I have a relative who lost teeth due to theirs. It isn't something people know a lot about. Thank goodness we had a good dentist at least.

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 6 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Thanks! Glad you liked it. I originally had this posted of my IEsmedical Hubpages account but, I just recently moved all those hubs over here. Thank you again.

  • dinkan53 profile image

    dinkan53 6 years ago from India

    Nice work with the terminology, but some diagramatic demonstration will make this hub more interesting and perfect.


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