Every Year Four Million Emergency Department Visits Result from Accidents Involving Bone Trauma

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When Your Car Hits the Skids You Want to Put Your Healthcare in the Hands of an Orthopaedic Trauma Care Specialist- Santa Rosa’s Orthopaedics Trauma Team provide expert care for patients with severe musculoskeletal injuries and related complications.

Dr. Ehmer and Dr. Bennett

Recuperation as the bone heals takes time, and exactly how much time can vary depending on the health and age of the patient, and the type of fracture.

Each year trauma accounts for approximately 42 million emergency department visits and 2 million hospital admissions across the nation (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The CDC’s National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey collected data from 357 emergency departments through a survey conducted in 2010. They estimated that there were between 3.5 and 4.4 million emergency department visits that resulted in a primary diagnosis of broken bone or fracture.

When someone suffers a broken bone whether through accident, fall or as a result of a sports injury, one of the doctors they are most likely to see is an orthopaedic trauma surgeon. Santa Rosa Orthopaedics trauma surgeons are specially trained to perform technically complex operations on critically ill patients at a moment’s notice, making it possible for patients to recover and return to their routines as quickly as possible.

Understanding Broken Bones

Sudden impact fractures occur under circumstances where a bone sustains a sudden, hard hit that puts more stress on the bone than it can normally sustain. Unlike stress fractures that build up over time, impact fractures happen suddenly, similar to snapping a twig in half. Events that might result in an impact fracture include a fall, an intense direct hit from any kind of accident, while playing a sport, or as a result of a car crash. Additional descriptions of ways people sustain common fractures may include;

  •     Extending the arms to break a fall can result in an impacted fracture, (the ends of two bones are forced into one another)
  •     A sharp sudden twist of a bone while playing sports could result in a jagged spiral fracture
  •     Vehicle accidents frequently cause comminuted fractures (a bone breaks into fragments), or compression fractures (a bone is crushed)

A highly skilled orthopaedic trauma team is quick to respond and repair conditions that include fractures described above as well as dislocations and severe soft tissue injuries caused by high impact trauma events like auto accidents. Patients with numerous skeletal and other primary organ system injuries, usually caused by high energy traumatic events such as vehicle accidents require a full team approach of care.

Common Fractures Seen by the Orthopaedic Trauma Team

Both acute and chronic conditions frequently managed by the trauma specialists at Santa Rosa Orthopaedics include;

  •     severe fractures of the upper and lower extremities
  •     pelvic and acetabular fractures
  •     complex femoral fractures
  •     infections and osteomyelitis
  •     femoral and tibial shaft fractures
  •     spine and spinal cord injuries
  •     foot and ankle injuries
  •     nonunions and malunions (see below)

Fractures that do not heal properly or that remain problematic are called non-unions. This type of complication can occur for a variety of reasons but are frequently a result of poor nutrition or smoking. Also, depending on where they are located in the body, some fractures receive less blood supply and are then also at risk for non-union.

Recovering from a Fracture

The level of severity of a fracture injury usually depends on where it is located and the damage sustained by bone and tissue surrounding the fracture. Obviously, serious fractures can have dangerous complications if not treated promptly with attention put on damaged blood vessels or nerves and resultant infection of the bone (osteomyelitis) or tissue surrounding the injury.

Recuperation as the bone heals takes time, and exactly how much time can vary depending on the health and age of the patient, and the type of fracture. For example, a relatively minor fracture in a young person may heal within a few weeks where a serious fracture in an older person may take several months to fully heal.

About SRO’s Orthopaedic Trauma Specialists

Fellowship trained orthopaedic trauma specialists, Dr. Nathan R. Ehmer and Dr. Frederick S. Bennett, provide expert care for patients with severe musculoskeletal injuries and related complications, and in many cases serve as a regional resource for other physicians challenged by these complex orthopaedic cases.

Dr. Ehmer and Dr. Bennett are part of a collaborative team of multi-specialist orthopedic surgeons and highly skilled physical and occupational therapists. In its efforts to bring the best outcomes to patients, SRO offers patients in-house diagnostic imaging, rehabilitation, sports injury prevention, as well as advanced surgical treatments in joint replacement, sports medicine, trauma care, hand, foot, ankle, and general orthopedic surgery. For more information about the Orthopaedics Trauma Specialists and the other SRO surgeons, visit our website.

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John Beilharz
since: 12/2013
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Santa Rosa Orthopaedics
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