An orthopaedic surgeon in Singapore treats a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions that involve the joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves in our body. These conditions can range from simple sprains and strains to more serious ones such as ligament or tendon tears and arthritis.
Although it is always recommended to visit an orthopaedic surgeon early if you are suffering from symptoms like pain, swelling and loss of motion; it is also understandable to feel apprehensive if you have no idea what to expect.
Hence, this article will serve as a guide to what may entail when you first visit an orthopaedic surgeon for a diagnosis. Read on to find out more.
1. History taking
Most, if not all consultations with an orthopaedic surgeon will usually start off with a discussion to understand your symptoms, level of pain, and whether there was any recent injury, or past medical conditions that could have contributed to your condition.
Your orthopaedic doctor will also want to understand your lifestyle habits and physical activity level – repetitive motions can cause wear and tear, while playing high-impact sports can increase the risk of acute injuries like ligament or tendon tears. In addition, your pre-injury activity level provides a benchmark for your doctor to work towards in trying to restore your quality of life.
2. Physical examination
During a physical examination, your orthopaedic surgeon will check your range of motion, joint stability and strength in the area of complaint. He or she will observe the affected area for any bruising, inflammation, and change in colour or texture of the skin. The orthopaedic doctor may also perform palpation, a method in which he or she feels the affected area with their hands for any tenderness or deformity. Provocative tests may also be done to try to isolate the area causing pain or weakness, so as to get an accurate diagnosis.
3. Imaging tests like X-rays, MRIs and CT scans
Sometimes, a physical examination is not sufficient for the orthopaedic surgeon to adequately evaluate your condition. When this happens, he or she may order imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis, and determine the severity of your muscle or joint injury or if deformity exists.
An X-ray may reveal if there is any narrowing of the joint space, cysts in the bone, bone spurs, bony thickening and deformity or incorrect alignment.
An MRI is a more powerful imaging test that can help your orthopaedic doctor see soft tissues that do not usually show up well on X-rays. Bony swelling, meniscus tears, labral tears, and ligament or tendon tears are better evaluated with an MRI.
A CT scan may be ordered as it provides more detail than standard X-rays. This is usually used for 3D assessment of bone and joint deformities or fractures.
These are what an orthopaedic surgeon would do to diagnose you accurately but there are also many other in-depth tests such as a muscle biopsy and bone scan that may be needed. However, this depends on your symptoms and condition.
We recommend seeing our orthopaedic doctor here at Advanced Orthopaedics early once symptoms arise so you can get the right treatment and regain your quality of life.