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Trauma and orthopaedic surgery

Trauma and orthopaedic surgeons diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions of the musculoskeletal system. This includes bones and joints and their associated structures that enable movement - ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves. Trauma and orthopaedic surgery is often abbreviated to T&O surgery.

Training and qualifications required

Training usually starts with a five year first degree in medicine and two years of foundation training. You'll then do two years of core training (CT1–2), followed by five years specialist training (ST3-7). This period of training will include completing your royal college exams. Length of training can vary according to your circumstances.

Expected working hours and salary range

Working hours should not exceed 48 hours a week. The working hours may sometimes extend beyond the normal working day to include early mornings, evenings and weekends. On call highly likely. Pay scales (2017): Consultants earn between £76,761 and £103,490.

Desirable skills and values

You'll need the stamina and initiative to work in highly pressurised and emotive situations. Practical skills such as good hand-eye co-ordination, manual dexterity and visuo-spatial awareness are important. You'll also need good communication, organisational and team-working skills. Enthusiasm, commitment and the ability to cope in a crisis are vital.


There are 2,358 consultants in trauma and orthopaedic surgery in England in 2016. Opportunities exist for research and teaching.
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