We treat all kinds of injuries to the bones, joints, spine, arms, and legs, as well as to the nerves, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other tissues involved in the injury.
In the Orthopaedic Trauma department, we're most often involved in dealing with seriously injured patients, some with life-threatening conditions. Here our skill set goes beyond knowing how to repair orthopaedic injuries, allowing us to balance life-saving treatments with procedures that will prevent disability.
We also treat many trauma patients who are less seriously injured. All of the treatments and procedures found throughout the UR Medicine's Orthopaedics website may be used in the Trauma Center, whether you sprain an ankle in your garden or wrench a shoulder on the football field. Trauma treatment does not always mean surgery—we work with a variety of specialists who provide casting, bracing, and rehabilitation services to trauma patients.
We have special expertise in these areas:
Stabilization of Pelvic Fractures: The pelvis is the ring of bones that attaches the back, spine and torso to the hips and legs. It also supports and protects a number of internal organs, including the bladder, the large intestine, and the reproductive organs. When a fracture occurs, the pelvis cannot bear the weight it normally supports. Often the result of a pedestrian being hit by a motor vehicle or a fall from a great height, a pelvic fracture can cause major blood loss—making this a particularly dangerous traumatic injury. We are prepared to stabilize the pelvis using one or more of the devices designed for this purpose, applied by physicians with vast experience in treating pelvic fractures.
Complex Reconstructions: Our orthopaedic surgeons bring experience with thousands of joint replacement and reconstructive procedures to our Level 1 Trauma Center. Depending on the extent of the injury, they are ready to use bone and tendon transplants or artificial implants to reconstruct a shattered joint.
Limb Shortening and Lengthening: Not every limb length issue requires surgery, so we will begin with an assessment of the issue to see which solution will be best for you. A fairly simple surgical procedure can make a child's legs an equal length, by slowing down the growth of the longer leg until the two legs are the same. In adults, a procedure to lengthen the shorter leg involves installing an external device (like a scaffolding around the leg) that can be adjusted several times a day. Your physician and your surgeon will discuss all of the benefits and risks with you to help you decide how to proceed.
Amputation: When absolutely necessary, the removal of a body part can reduce long-term pain and prevent the spread of a dangerous infection (such as gangrene). Patients with very severe injuries to an arm or leg may have a better chance of recovery if the shattered or partially severed limb is removed. Amputation allows the patient to move forward with a prosthetic device, preserving his or her independence.
Repair of poorly healed fractures:When properly treated, most fractures heal without any further issue. In some traumatic injuries, however, complications can prevent the fracture from receiving the blood and nutrients it needs to form new bone tissue. If you have a nonunion, a malunion, an infection, or compartment syndrome, our traumatologists will find the cause of the problem and work with your medical team to solve it.
Fractures in elderly patients: When an older adult fractures a hip or knee, he or she may face complications that can make surgery a tricky option. Blood loss, fragile bones, reluctance to eat or drink, the complications of anesthesia in patients with dementia, and resistance to physical therapy can slow the patient's recovery. Repairing or replacing a fractured joint is only one part of the picture, so our traumatologists play an important role in supervising an elderly patient's care.
Fractures in weakened bone (fragility fractures):Some bone fractures happen during normal, everyday activities like lifting an object, coughing, or bending over. These fractures usually are a symptom of osteoporosis, a disease that makes bones brittle and prone to small fractures, especially in the spine. When a bone in your spine, leg, or arm breaks for no apparent reason, your first point of contact is likely to be the ER, where our traumatologists will find the source of your fracture and recommend both emergency and long-term action.