One of the objectives of the Professional Practice Committee (PPC) of the Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (PRM) Section of the Union of European Medical Specialists (UEMS) is the development of the field of competence of PRM physicians in Europe. To achieve this objective, UEMS PRM Section PPC has adopted a systematic action plan of preparing a series of papers describing the role of PRM physicians in a number of disabling health conditions, based on the evidence of effectiveness of the physical and rehabilitation medicine interventions. According to the UEMS-PRM section, the role of PRM physician in musculoskeletal perioperative settings has to be situated inside general pain management. Musculoskeletal surgery (MSS) represents a frequent medical situation among patients suffering from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), in which PRM physicians need to be involved. A wide number of MSDs have to be operated in order to diminish disability and relieve symptoms, thus improving the patient's functioning and social participation: Joint replacements, spine decompressions, vertebroplasties, internal fixation of unstable fractures, arthroscopies for tendon and joint repairs, and others. This paper describes the role of the PRM physician during the perioperative period. A well-coordinated rehabilitation programme followed by a good home rehabilitation programme results in pain reduction, faster recovery with better patient participation and increased cost effectiveness. PRM physicians have to identify patients at risk of continuing activity limitation and participation restriction who will benefit from an early rehabilitation process and formulate a PRM programme of care taking into account each patient's environmental factors.