Trauma Injuries

Minor traumatic injuries include fractured bones and dislocated joints that do not require hospitalization. In many cases, people who have gone to a hospital emergency room and been diagnosed with a fracture will be referred to make an appointment with an orthopedic trauma surgeon.

Major traumatic conditions include severe soft-tissue tears of the muscles, cartilage, tendons or ligaments and badly broken bones. Orthopedic trauma surgeons often perform surgery for high-impact bone fractures, such as those caused by car accidents, as well as industrial and work-related accidents. These include:

  • comminuted fractures (in which one or more bones is shattered into pieces)
  • compound fractures (open fractures)
  • compression fractures
  • displaced fractures
  • spiral fractures (also known as torsion fractures)

Surgery may also be needed to repair less severe fractures that are not healing (called a nonunion or pseudarthrosis), fractures that are healing improperly (malunion) and large muscle injuries such as a torn quad (quadriceps) tendon.

Common Conditions

Bone fractures are the most common injuries treated by an orthopedic trauma surgeon. These include:

  • broken shoulder or collarbone (clavicle)
  • broken elbow
  • broken arm, including Galeazzi fracture of the radius
  • broken hip or pelvis
  • broken leg (femur, tibia)