What's in a name?
I came across a letter to the editor in the AAOS Now publication, the member publication for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons entitled, "Which is Correct: OrthopEdics or OrthopAEdics?" by Dr. Nikolaos Christodoulou of Athens.
"OrthopAEdics” and “OrthopEdics” are derived from orthopédie, coined by 17th -century French physician Nicholas Andry de Bois-Regard. The words are derived from the Greek word ὀρθός (orthos), which means “correct” or “straight”, and παιδίον (paidion), which means “child”. As the etymology implies, orthopédie referenced the practice as the treatment of childhood spine deformities. Today, orthopAEdics has grown to encompass a diverse array of treatments going well beyond the spine, treating all age groups.
Dr. Christodoulou argues that the "E" version is the spelling most used in modern electronic communication and it is the main spelling in most languages in the world. As you can see on pdxshouldersurgeon.com, I prefer the "AE" version. Although...the original founders of my practice, Multnomah OrthopEdic Clinic, chose the alternative (Why, Drs. Mandiberg and Higgins, why?!). So I'm living my professional life in a bit of limbo, being an OrthopAEdic Surgeon at Multnomah OrthopEdic Clinic (gasp!!!).
That said, I'm in favor of "AE", as are just about all of the orthopAEdic organizations in the U.S....including the American Academy of OrthopAEdic Surgeons, the American Association of OrthopAEdic Medicine, American OrthopAEdic Society for Sports Medicine, among others.
So what's the difference? An extra "A"...that's about it. They both mean the same thing.