Orthopedic Surgeons vs. Orthopedic Doctors—What are Their Differences?

Orthopedic doctors and orthopedic surgeons are two distinct medical professionals who deliver patient services in orthopedic healthcare. Each medical practitioner has a distinct role in orthopedic care. Thus, patients need to understand their specific roles and the circumstances to consider when seeking specialized assistance. 

Orthopedic Doctor 

Non-Surgical Expertise

An orthopedic doctor, also called an orthopedist, excels in delivering non-surgical solutions for a diverse array of musculoskeletal ailments. Orthopedists possess profound insight into diagnosing conditions such as arthritis, tendonitis, fractures, and joint injuries. Their treatment options include physical therapy, medication management, injections, and rehabilitation.

Primary Point of Care

Orthopedic doctors frequently serve as patients’ initial point of contact when grappling with musculoskeletal discomfort or pain. They execute comprehensive assessments, order diagnostic tests, and construct individualized treatment plans tailored to each patient’s distinctive condition and prerequisites.

Orthopedic Surgeon

Specialized Surgical Expertise

Orthopedic surgeons are medical doctors who have pursued advanced, specialized training, typically referred to as a fellowship, dedicated to orthopedic surgery. Their primary area of expertise revolves around surgical interventions for musculoskeletal issues necessitating operative procedures.

Surgical Procedures

Orthopedic surgeons undertake a broad spectrum of surgical procedures, such as joint replacements, spinal surgeries, ligament repairs, and fracture fixations. Their expertise lies in the application of surgical techniques to address intricate orthopedic predicaments.

Consultation for Surgical Interventions

Patients typically seek consultation with orthopedic surgeons when their musculoskeletal ailment mandates surgical intervention for the optimal course of recuperation. Orthopedic surgeons assess the gravity of the musculoskeletal condition, deliberate on surgical alternatives, and, if deemed essential, execute the surgical procedure.

When to Consult Each Professional?

  1. Orthopedic Doctors 

Seeking guidance from an orthopedic doctor is a prudent step when you face musculoskeletal pain, discomfort, or limitations in your mobility. These caring professionals offer comprehensive assessments, non-surgical treatment alternatives, and valuable advice for effectively managing conditions like osteoarthritis, tendinitis, and minor fractures.

  1. Orthopedic Surgeons

Enlisting the expertise of an orthopedic surgeon is warranted when a musculoskeletal condition necessitates surgery to optimize the recuperative outcome. Typical scenarios warranting consultation include severe joint deterioration, complex fractures, spinal predicaments, and unresponsive injuries.


Orthopedic doctors and orthopedic surgeons play indispensable roles within the domain of musculoskeletal healthcare, each with their distinctive spheres of proficiency. 

Orthopedic doctors specialize in non-surgical treatments and often function as the principal healthcare providers for patients. Conversely, orthopedic surgeons are experts in surgical interventions, especially for intricate cases. 

The choice between these two healthcare professionals hinges on the nature and gravity of the musculoskeletal condition, with the overarching aim of tailoring the approach to fulfill the distinct requirements of each patient.

To learn more about these orthopedic healthcare professionals and where to consult with one, check out NowServing PH. It is a telemedicine platform that enables Filipino patients to access healthcare services conveniently and efficiently.