Life Of A Surgeon

Hello aspiring doctors!

I have received great feedback and will continue to answer your awesome questions. A common question that I get is what is a typical day like for a surgeon. It depends on the surgical specialty. I am an orthopedic surgeon. So my day is very different from a neurosurgeon, plastic surgeon, trauma surgeon, vascular surgeon, etc. I will tell you that my training as an orthopedic surgeon was very different from what my practice looks like now.

Let’s start with residency. Surgical training programs in general can be 4-7 years long depending on what you choose. Orthopedic residency is 5 years. Some programs offer additional research years during residency if you choose that path. Those who wish to go into academics after residency and fellowship might choose to do an extra year of research. After residency, you can choose to do a fellowship which is an additional year of training in your specialty.

Orthopedic surgery residency is 5 years. The first year you will rotate through most of the other surgical specialties, such as vascular, plastics, general and neurosurgery. You will do a couple of months of orthopedics your first year. Years 2-5, you will rotate through all of the subspecialties within orthopedics which include, sports, adult reconstruction (Hip and Knee replacements), Foot and Ankle, Oncology, Trauma, Hand/Upper Extremity, Pediatrics, and Spine. Some days begin at 4 am and end at 10pm – this is not the case for all rotations. During your second year, you will have night float which is when you start at 5 pm and end around 7am and repeat for 3-6 months depending on the program. This year is the toughest in my opinion.

I did my fellowship in sports medicine. Fellowship is a more relaxed year compared to residency. Now that I am in practice, I am able to make my own schedule. My typical week is split 50/50 in the OR and in clinic. As a sports medicine physician, I do take call on the weekends and I am a team physician so my weekends are not always free. When I am in clinic, I usually begin around 7:30am and end around 5 or 6 pm. On my OR days, I usually begin around 7 and finish around 5 pm depending on how many cases I have scheduled for that day.

Despite the long hours, I love what I do. Some days and some cases are more challenging than others but I love it all. My hope is that no matter what specialty you choose, that you enjoy it, you find it rewarding, you find that work-life balance and that you help millions.

As always keep studying hard, working hard and don’t give up. Keep the questions coming and I will continue to write about the topics that you want to hear.

Stay safe.


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