Orthopedic Trauma and Fracture Care
Traumatic fractures often require immediate medical attention and, likely, surgery to prevent chronic conditions from developing or for the injury to cause further damage. Orthopedic trauma and fracture care are among the medical specialties that focus on emergency care.
All of our orthopedic surgeons cover the emergency room and take trauma cases at Island Health Hospital in Anacortes, WA. They are versed in caring for acute and trauma cases and fracture care.
What is an Orthopedic Trauma Injury?
Orthopedic trauma includes severe injuries to the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, or nerves that usually result from sudden accidents or violent impacts. Fractures and other traumatic types of injuries usually occur during incidents like car accidents, falls, sports injuries, and industrial accidents that easily result in one or more fractures that require immediate orthopedic care.
Key parts of orthopedic trauma and fracture include:
- Diagnosis: Using X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs to identify the type and extent of the fracture.
- Reduction: The process of realigning the broken bone, which can be done externally (“closed reduction”) or surgically (“open reduction”).
- Internal or External Fixation: Internal fixation involves the use of screws, plates, and rods inserted surgically to hold the bone pieces together. External fixation uses pins or screws that are placed into the broken bone above and below the fracture site, which are then connected to a metal bar outside the skin.
- Rehabilitation: After the bone is set, recovery involves restoring the range of motion, strength, and function of the injured area.
Signs of Traumatic Fractures
Fractures as a result of a traumatic event include a wide range of injuries, that present a variety of symptoms. If suffering from any of the following signs, it’s imperative to seek emergency medical attention:
- The affected area is deformed
- The affected area is red and swollen
- Bruising and tenderness around the affected area
- Pain that progressively gets worse
- Severe pain when moving the affected joint
- Severe pain when standing or walking
- Bone protruding through the skin
- Numbness or tingling near the fracture site
- Inability to bear weight
- Loss of function in the affected area
Common Care and Surgery Treatments for Trauma and Traumatic Injury
Emergency treatments depend on the injury and severity of the damage, but common care options in an emergency setting include:
Urgent surgery to realign fractured bones and stabilize them using internal hardware, especially in cases of compound fractures with bone protrusion.
Applying an external frame to stabilize fractures when rapid intervention is required.
Removal of contaminated tissue from open fractures to reduce the risk of infection.
Relieving increased pressure in a muscle compartment to prevent permanent damage.
Inserting a metal rod down the center of a bone to stabilize fractures, especially useful for emergency care of unstable long bone fractures.
For cases of severe dislocations or joint injuries that could threaten limb viability.
An emergency surgical incision into a joint, particularly for septic arthritis or traumatic hemarthrosis (bleeding into a joint space).