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.

This page provides useful information on the nature of the work, the common procedures/interventions, sub-specialties and other roles that may interest you.

F2 female doctor checking patient arm

Nature of the work

There are two aspects to the work:

Trauma can range from low energy fractures (often in elderly patients) to multiple injuries such as those caused by a road traffic accident. Bone and joint infection can also require emergency admission and treatment.

T&O surgeons work with patients of all ages from babies to elderly people.

“I love T&O surgery, as you often have the opportunity to immediately improve someone’s life”. Edward Gee, specialty registrar, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Read Edward’s story

Common procedures/interventions

T&O surgeons have the opportunity to use the latest surgical technologies including minimally invasive techniques. Another new development is computer aided navigation during surgery which enables 3D mapping of a joint. This gives the surgeon a greater degree of accuracy when making incisions.

Consultants normally teach undergraduate and postgraduate medical students and supervise surgical trainees. T&O surgeons also undertake audit and committee work. With experience there are excellent opportunities to become involved in management and to actively participate in professional organisations.


Most T&O surgeons develop a subspecialty (usually towards the end of their specialist training) and these include:

What to learn more?

Find out more about:

Other roles that may interest you

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