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What Is Complex Trauma?

Complex Orthopaedic trauma refers to a serious injury of the skeletal or muscular system caused by an external force, such as a fall or a car accident. While this type of injury is not always life-threatening, it can be life-changing, which is why it’s crucial to seek medical attention right away.

That doesn’t necessarily mean a trip to your nearest urgent care center – these injuries may require the unique expertise of an orthopaedic trauma physician.

Dr. Bejoy Jayan, an orthopaedic trauma surgeon at KMM Hospital, wants patients to understand what types of injuries are considered traumatic so that they can receive the appropriate care.

Definition of Orthopaedic Trauma

Orthopaedic trauma is any severe injury to the bones, joints, and/or soft tissue that is caused by an external source. These injuries are often the result of a sudden incident, such as a car accident or fall, but not always. Trauma can also be caused by overuse – for example, running long distances is a common cause of tibial stress fractures, small hairline cracks in the lower leg.

The definition of orthopaedic trauma is broad because it encompasses a spectrum of injuries, from simple hairline fractures to life-threatening accidents. While there are many different types of traumatic orthopaedic injuries, the goal of surgeons who specialize in this area is the same – to restore the function of the injured body part(s) as quickly and effectively as possible.

Common Causes of Orthopaedic Trauma

Most often, traumatic orthopaedic injuries are caused by:

  • Falling

  • Being involved in a car or motorcycle accident

  • Physical violence

  • Being injured while playing a sport (basketball and football have the highest number of orthopaedic injuries)

  • Natural disasters


Factors That Increase the Risk of Orthopaedic Injury

Some people are more likely to suffer traumatic injuries than others. An older adult with osteoporosis, a condition that reduces bone density, is more likely to break a bone when they fall compared with a healthy young adult.

When to See an Orthopaedic Trauma Specialist

Sometimes, orthopaedic trauma is immediately obvious. Life-threatening injuries, such as protruding bones, require an immediate trip to the emergency room where an orthopaedic surgeon will get to work right away.

Other times, orthopaedic trauma is not life-threatening, but still requires specialized care. Some of the most common injuries that are most effectively treated by an orthopaedic trauma specialist are:

  • Closed fractures (Broken bone that doesn’t break the skin)

  • Open fractures (Broken bone that does break the skin)

  • Stress fractures (Small, hairline crack in the bone caused by overuse)

  • Dislocation (A joint forced out of position)

  • Overuse injuries

While your primary care doctor or local urgent care clinic may be able to treat some of these injuries, it’s a good idea to see an expert. Orthopaedic surgeons have advanced knowledge of the musculoskeletal system – some specialize even further, focusing on only one area of the body, such as the knees, hands, or feet.

Fortunately, you don’t need to worry about going to the wrong doctor – your primary or urgent care doctor will refer you to an orthopaedic specialist if need be.

Treatment: What Does an Orthopaedic Trauma Surgeon Do?

Orthopaedic trauma surgeons work in both hospitals and private practices to diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate injuries of the musculoskeletal system.

In the ER, a general trauma surgeon is primarily responsible for resuscitating and stabilizing a patient with life-threatening injuries. An orthopaedic trauma surgeon will be on standby or on call to manage trauma to the bones, joints, and soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, and tendons).

Despite having “surgeon” in their title, orthopaedic surgeons will only use surgical treatments if necessary. Non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy, rest, and supportive braces/casts, may also be effective for certain traumatic injuries.

Preventing Traumatic Orthopaedic Injuries

Accidents happen, but there are some simple things everyone can do to reduce their traumatic injury risk.

  • Always wear a seatbelt when driving

  • Always wear a helmet when biking, skateboarding, rollerblading, etc.

  • Wear the appropriate safety gear when playing contact sports

  • Stretch and do a warm-up exercise before working out or playing a sport to prevent muscle injury

Those at a higher risk of injury, either due to a condition that weakens the bones or causes a loss of balance, may need to take additional precautions.

  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes with good traction to avoid tripping or slipping

  • Use night lights to prevent tripping over objects in the dark

  • Add small ramps to entryways and areas with raised flooring

Talk to Dr. Bejoy Jayan about more ways to adjust your lifestyle to avoid injury or how to make your home safer for a loved one.

Dr. Bejoy Jayan is a highly experienced Orthopaedic Surgeon, who specializes in Arthroscopy, Arthroplasty, Lizarov Surgery abd Complex Trauma. He has practiced joint replacement and hand & wrist surgery exclusively for over 5 years.

KMM Hospital, Perumpadappu, Malappuram 679580

Phone: +91 702 530 7551

          +91 812 928 3500

Email: bejoyjayan@gmail.com

M.B.B.S | M.S Ortho | MCH


Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure on a joint in which an examination and sometimes treatment of damage is performed using an arthroscope, an endoscope that is inserted into the joint through a small incision.


Arthroplasty (literally "[re-]forming of joint") is an orthopedic surgical procedure where the articular surface of a musculoskeletal joint is replaced, remodeled, or realigned by osteotomy or some other procedure.

Ilizarov surgery

The Ilizarov apparatus is a type of external fixation used in orthopedic surgery to lengthen or reshape limb bones; as a limb-sparing technique to treat complex and/or open bone fractures; and in cases of infected nonunions of bones that are not amenable with other techniques.

KMM Hospital, Perumpadappu, Malappuram 679580

Email: bejoyjayan@gmail.com

Perumbadappu | Kerala | India

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