What is Orthopedic Trauma?
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:
- Multiple fractures or crushing injuries
- Compound fractures, where a broken bone pierces the skin
- Breaks in a joint, which can lead to arthritis
- Hip and pelvic fractures
- Infections in a broken bone
- Nonunions, or breaks that won't heal
- Malunions, or breaks that are misaligned
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.