What does an Orthopedic Trauma Surgeon do?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 05 September 2019
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An orthopedic trauma surgeon treats traumatic injuries to a person’s musculoskeletal system. For example, this type of doctor often treats traumatic injuries that affect a person’s bones or joints. He may also treat those that involve muscles and cartilage. In many cases, this type of surgeon treats patients who have been injured in car accidents, falls, and other types of accidental injuries. He may also treat those who have suffered injuries as a result of physical attacks.

Typically, an orthopedic surgeon is called upon to treat patients suffering from the most serious and often life-threatening types of injuries. A person with this job may work to help save a patient's life as well as to preserve his ability to walk and move in other ways. He may also work to provide surgical treatment that prevents the disfigurement of the patient. In many cases, a trauma surgeon treats multiple parts of a patient's body during one surgery, though his focus is always on the musculoskeletal system.


An orthopedic surgeon may work with other types of trauma surgeons to preserve a patient's life. Typically, his job is to treat a patient who is in critical condition and help to upgrade his condition to stable. These doctors typically work under a good deal of pressure, as speed may play a role in their ability to save lives. Often, they must also attempt extremely complicated or delicate procedures, even as they work to keep a patient from bleeding too much or suffering additional complications. Patients and medical colleagues depend on them to remain focused despite the chaos that may exist around them.

Orthopedic trauma surgeons usually work in the emergency department of a hospital. Some may also work in the emergency departments of medical care centers equipped to deal with traumatic injuries. They may work long hours and deal with stress on a regular basis.

An individual who wants to become an orthopedic trauma surgeon usually commits to an extended period of time in school and medical training. Typically, this person must complete four years of college, four years of medical school, and at least a few years of residency training. Often, an aspiring orthopedic trauma surgeon also completes a fellowship, which is paid training in trauma care. This may last for a year or two. The exact requirements a person will have to meet to become an orthopedic trauma surgeon, however, depend on the unique laws in his jurisdiction.



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