Orthopedic trauma is a branch of orthopedic surgery that focuses on the care of seriously broken bones, especially following accidents. Although all orthopedic surgeons treat common fractures, some breaks are difficult to treat and require specialized care in order to heal properly. Some examples of the kinds of injuries that an orthopedic trauma specialist might handle include:
Treatment provided by an orthopedic trauma specialist depends on the type and extent of the injury. In some cases it is sufficient to have a cast, brace, or other external way of supporting the broken bone while it heals. More significant injuries may require surgery to place structures such as pins, screws, and plates to stabilize the healing bone. In the most complex injuries, bone grafting or limb lengthening procedures may be used.
Orthopedic trauma specialists often work in hospitals, and they work closely with emergency professionals as well as reconstructive surgeons. In the case of a severe fracture or complications from a broken bone, orthopedic trauma specialists are the doctors that can get you moving again.
Adult orthopedic reconstructive surgery is the medical specialty devoted to the surgical care or replacement of damaged joints in adults. Most commonly, this care focuses on the hip and knee, but it can also be used to treat joints such as the shoulder or ankle. Some adult orthopedic reconstructive surgeons specialize on only one part of the body, such as the hip.
The most common cause of joint damage treated by adult orthopedic reconstructive surgeon is arthritis. Other joint issues often seen involve cartilage and ligament tears, autoimmune disorders, and orthopedic complications due to diabetes or cancer.
Some of the procedures that may be performed by an adult orthopedic reconstructive surgeon include:
Even if a bone or joint is damaged, adult orthopedic reconstructive surgeons may have medical treatments available that can help patients avoid or delay surgery. Whether treatment is medical or surgical, their end goal is to help patients move freely and comfortably.
Orthopedic surgeons, sometimes just called orthopedists, are surgical doctors of the musculoskeletal system. They work to keep your body active and in motion by treating problems with your bones, joints, tendons and muscles. The most frequently treated disorder seen by orthopedic surgeons is osteoarthritis, a common 'wear-and-tear' problem where the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down, causing friction and pain. Orthopedic surgeons might also see patients for bone and joint deformities, amputation, infections of the bone and joint, overuse injuries, or nerve compression.
Orthopedic surgeons can order tests such as blood work and x-rays to get a clearer picture of the issue. Depending on the illness or injury, more than one different form of treatment may be used. Treatment may include:
Orthopedic surgeons also work to prevent injuries and slow the progression of disease in their patients. They educate patients on ways to prevent future injuries, and they treat illness in order to prevent further damage to bones or joints that may be affected by disease. The goal of an orthopedic surgeon is to help their patients restore movement and regain an active life.
Knee replacement is a surgical procedure to replace parts of the knee joint that are damaged. It is most often done to treat arthritis, a common condition that causes stiffness and pain in the joints. Knee replacement is used only if other, less invasive treatments have not worked.
A knee replacement may be partial, involving only the damaged areas, or it may include the entire joint. During surgery, the cartilage, a smooth and tough piece of tissue that lines the ends of bones, is removed. The ends of the femur (thigh bone), tibia (lower leg bone), and, sometimes, patella (kneecap) are smoothed out and replaced with metal parts. The cartilage is then replaced with a plastic disc that the metal can glide across when moving. This removes any rough or grinding surfaces within the knee that may have been causing pain.
Surgery can be performed by a large incision along the knee or through tiny incisions with small tools and an arthroscope, a small lighted tube with a camera. The procedure takes one to two hours, and you will stay in the hospital for a few days following surgery as you heal and learn to use your new knee. Physical therapy can help you move correctly and prevent stiffness. Generally, you will be able to return to normal activity within a few weeks, but you may be asked to stop participating in high-impact activities, like football or running, which could injure your new knee.