Top 5 Specialties of an Orthopedic Surgery Expert Witness

Searching for an orthopedic surgery expert witness can be challenging given the various specialties available. Mednick Associates shows how they determine who is right for specific cases.

Mednick Associates, a medical legal consulting firm, specializes in medical expert witness search and legal nurse consulting. Their clients, mostly busy litigators, rely on them to understand their case needs and recommend the proper expert witnesses for case reviews and opinions.

Orthopedic surgeons pose a challenge as their specialties are varied, cover many areas of medicine and overlap in terms of procedures performed. Mednick Associates has an expert network of over 2,000 highly credentialed medical experts, which includes numerous top tier orthopedic surgeons. To serve their clients more efficiently, they have developed 5 classifications for orthopedic surgeons to help avoid any confusion and cut to the crux of any medical case.

  1. Upper Extremity: These surgeons operate primarily on the arm or from the “fingertips to the shoulder”. Most have specialties in one area. Some specialize in hand, elbow or forearm surgeries, while other focus on shoulder issues. Not all procedures require or have a sub-specialty board certification. An important note as you decide how to proceed with your case.
  2. Knee & Hip: The opposite of upper extremity, these surgeons tend to work on core and leg issues. Some specialize in “replacement” surgeries for the hip and knee while others fall into the “Sports Medicine” realm and repair knee related injuries like ACL and MCL tears.
  3. Spine: Back surgeries, while common, are handled either by a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon. Many legal cases require a review or medical exam by an orthopedic surgeon. Car accidents, slip and falls, workers compensation issues or general malpractice claims can involve spine issues.
  4. Foot & Ankle: With the exception of hand surgeons, this group is probably the most rare of the five specialties, specifically, ankle surgeons. The intricate nature of the foot and ankle requires a surgeon who specializes in such surgery, especially when prosecuting or defending a case where a foot or ankle surgery or accident is the primary issue.
  5. General: Many orthopedic surgeons fall into the “general” category. They may sub-specialize, but consider themselves generalists as they have not committed their career to a specific operation or region of the body. As an expert witness, these generalists can usually assist you in reviewing a case, but it is always recommended to find an expert who performs the actually surgery in question, on a routine basis.

As a rule of thumb, orthopedic surgeons come in all shapes and sizes. When reviewing a CV for a potential expert witness assignment, it is always helpful to discuss the particulars of the experts’ surgical history and how many surgeries and types they have performed. Mednick Associates assists their clients in this regard and only recommends orthopedic experts that are well versed in the specific surgical procedures the case requires. They can be reached in their home office at 203.966.3000 where you can learn more about their expert offerings or legal nurse consulting services.