I am 1 of 14%. I am a female orthopaedic surgery resident. Ask Me Anything.

May 24, 2017

The face of medicine is changing. However, surgical subspecialties are a little slower to catch up. Orthopaedic surgery has one of the lowest percentages of females within a medical specialty in the United States.  It is both rewarding and frustrating at the same time, but I love what I do!

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Three years ago, I had a surgery in my femur. Now I have a metal plate and 8 pins. My question is this: Will I be able to remove the pins and plate in the future?

May 24, 3:48PM EDT0

We typically don't remove them unless they are a problem (Aka loose or causing pain or irritation). Not worth it to go through another big surgery with the complications that go along with it unless you need to 

May 24, 3:52PM EDT0

Thanks for your answer!

May 24, 3:54PM EDT1

What types of surgeries do you get to do on your own as a lead surgeon ?

May 24, 3:37PM EDT0

I haven't really gotten to do any on my own yet. A couple of carpal tunnels and intramedullary nails for hip, femur and tibia fractures. You?

May 24, 3:51PM EDT0
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Its said that each specialty has its own "personality" or that the people who choose to go into it generally have the same type of personality. Ortho seems to have the reputation that crass, tough, sporty people are the typical Doctor. Do you think that is one reason why women tend to stay out? Not that women are not capable of those traits, but all the same, what do you think?

May 24, 1:16PM EDT0

I do!! Look down at my response to Kevin, and you will see that my thoughts align with that :-)

May 24, 1:23PM EDT0

So, I saw this video a little while back - does this really happen in ortho surgery?  Or is this fake?  (And if it's real, is this good medical practice?)


May 24, 12:17PM EDT24

Hi! Not knowing the medical background of the patient, what it looks like:

If you have to remove an intramedullary nail, you have to attach the piece that you see in the center of the screen and back slap it.  Unfortunately, if the nail is broken from another trauma or grown in, it is VERY difficult to remove. What you see here is unfortunately very common in removal of hardware.

May 24, 12:20PM EDT1
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Which is the most fragile bone in the body?

May 24, 12:15PM EDT0

Hmmm...Depends on the person.

I like to think that the calcaneus (heel) is very fragile. More because when it is fractured, it just falls into SO many pieces and is very difficult to put back together anatomically.

In osteoporosis, we worry about bone loss  in the proximal femoral metaphysis, distal radius, and the vertebrae.

May 24, 12:18PM EDT13
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What are the most common surgeries you do?

May 24, 5:35AM EDT0

The most common surgeries I do are probably treating hip fractures (with intramedullary nailing or hemiarthoplasties).

May 24, 12:10PM EDT0

Are you also a racial minority or are you white?

May 24, 4:12AM EDT0


May 24, 12:10PM EDT0

Do you act like you have a chip on your shoulder?

May 24, 2:52AM EDT0

I don't think that I do!  I am proud of it :-)

May 24, 12:10PM EDT0

What are the most common orthopaedic surgeries?

May 24, 1:10AM EDT0

Hmm...it depends on your subspecialty.  As a resident, we see a LOT of hip fractures, unfortunately. Therefore, intramedullary nailing of the femur as well as hemiarthroplasties are super common.  In hand surgery, it is carpal tunnel release. In foot and ankle, it is bunion surgery and ankle fractures.  There are a lot of others.

May 24, 12:09PM EDT0

What are the benefits of joint replacement surgery? Have you done any such surgeries yourself?

May 24, 1:00AM EDT0

I have! I tell patients that joint replacement procedures are pain relieving procedures. We perform them on patients who have pain that is limiting their activities of daily living.  It will not improve your golf swing or your ability to do athletics.  But it WILL reliably relieve your pain.

May 24, 12:08PM EDT23
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Will you get a fellowship after you complete your residency?

May 23, 11:07PM EDT0

That's the plan! I want to do sports medicine.

May 24, 12:07PM EDT0
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Always wondewred, what is the difference between a sprain and a strain?

May 23, 10:36PM EDT14

Same thing :-) Both are a mild tear of the fibers

May 24, 12:07PM EDT33

How much student debt do you have?

May 23, 9:01PM EDT0

$300,000 before interest....

May 24, 12:07PM EDT0
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In the medical field overall what is the percentage of females?

May 23, 8:19PM EDT29

Hmm...I actually don't know the exact number.  It is 50/50 in medical school now, but I don't know the overall number since it isn't until recently that we have had 50/50 men/women going into the field. 

These  numbers are fromthe US.

May 24, 12:07PM EDT0

Have you done any hip replacement surgeries?

May 23, 8:02PM EDT21

Yes! I've had 2 rotations in joint replacement surgery so far.

May 24, 12:06PM EDT0

Have you ever made a mistake during a surgery?

May 23, 7:21PM EDT0

Fortunately, nothing surgically or life-altering. But, as a junior resident I have not taken the lead on a surgery.

May 24, 12:05PM EDT0

Is it more difficult to get into medical school as a woman?

May 23, 6:45PM EDT0

Not at all, I don't think. Medical school now is just about 50/50 men:women.

May 24, 12:05PM EDT0

What are things patients can do to make your life easier?

May 23, 6:30PM EDT0

Personally, I think that respect is the biggest. I hate that I  have to constantly repeat that I am their doctor and  not another support staff.  I do not feel like they appreciate my opinion as much due to this.

May 24, 12:05PM EDT1

What was your undergraduate degree in?

May 23, 6:01PM EDT0

Biological sciences.  I did research in strength and conditioning.

May 24, 12:04PM EDT0

Are you happy with the choices you made choosing this field? :)

May 23, 5:44PM EDT0

Yes. I love what I do! However, I do sometimes look back and wonder what life would be like if I had a "normal person" job.

May 24, 12:04PM EDT36
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