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Understanding Trauma and How to Treat It

Trauma surgery is a branch of surgical medicine that treats injuries caused by impact. A trauma surgeon might be called to an emergency room to assess a patient who has been injured in a car accident.

Trauma Explained

Trauma refers to injuries sustained when someone is struck with a blunt object or suffers from a severe injury.

Trauma may also be called “major trauma” Trauma patients often become victims of gunshot wounds, car accidents, stabbings, or car crashes. Trauma can also result from falls, crush injuries, or pedestrians being hit by a vehicle.

Traumatic injuries can cause damage to the internal organs, bones, brain, and other soft tissues. Trauma can affect any part of the body.

Who Performs Trauma Surgery

In severe trauma cases, such as car crashes, the trauma surgeon might be part of a team that also includes general surgeons (to fix internal abdominal injuries), vascular specialists (to repair damaged blood vessels), orthopedics (to fix broken bones) and other surgeons, as needed.

Not only will the trauma team include one or more surgeons but also nurses, anesthetists, respiratory therapists, radiologists, and support staff from the medical laboratory scientists (including the blood bank).

A high level of education is necessary for surgeons to be able to practice in the chosen field. They complete a bachelor’s degree in college and then enter medical school for four more years. Five years of residency training is required for general surgeons. Surgeons who wish to specialize require a five-year residency. A critical care fellowship is often completed by trauma surgeons. They then take their boards to become certified in Surgical Critical Care.

From the Emergency Room to Surgery

A trauma surgeon is a specialist who has specialized skills and functions that are not available to an emergency room doctor. 5 The ER doctor will treat you and stabilize you. The ER doctor will notify the appropriate specialists, including the trauma surgeon. The ER doctor’s role is to refer you for admission or discharge you with the appropriate treatment and follow-up referrals.

Your trauma surgeon will take care of your trauma surgery. You will be followed closely by her and her team throughout recovery, rehabilitation, and discharge. Emergency Surgery Depending on your condition, you might be transferred to another facility. You may not see the trauma surgeon until you get to her facility.

A trauma surgeon is usually responsible for prioritizing which injuries should be treated first and determining the best order for the diagnostic and operative procedures.


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