All about orthopedic and trauma surgery

Orthopedic and trauma surgery

Orthopedic and trauma surgery pertains to all interventions on the musculoskeletal system (bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves) following a malformation or an accident. Orthopedics covers a vast domain and a number of specialties, traumatology being the main one. When to consult and what for? Dr Gopal, an orthopedic and trauma surgeon at the Clinique Bon Pasteur and hospital administrator, sheds light on the matter.

Orthopedic and trauma surgery is a particularly vast medical sphere. It spreads across several fields, including arthroplasty (joint replacement), sports medicine (arthroscopy), limb and spine restoration surgery, orthopedic oncology and deformity correction. Each orthopedic and trauma surgeon specialises in a field, and can count on a whole array of cutting-edge tools to treat patients, who are referred to them by general practitioners, except in emergency cases.

“Our primary goal is to ensure that our patients reach their best physical shape. For example, we help them regain their independence as they start walking again,” explains Dr Gopal. The days of an orthopedic and trauma surgeon are never the same, since there is a great number and diversity of cases, ranging from common ailments such as age-induced pains, to more severe conditions such as polytrauma or fulminating infections.

The most frequent reasons for patient visits at the Clinique Bon Pasteur are multiple. “The most common cases are osteoporosis and other age-related conditions such as hip fracture, osteoporotic fractures, deformation of the spinal column and wrist fracture,” Dr Gopal further explains. While adults most often consult for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or osteoporosis, children can also receive treatment for congenital deformities. Other recurring reasons for consultation include on-site accidents and road accidents.

The interventions of an orthopedic and trauma surgeon differ from case to case. “As examples, we’ve had to correct limb length in children, whose legs did not develop correctly after birth, as well as in adults, who needed bone regrowth after an infection or an accident,” says Dr Gopal. Other age-related interventions, such as joint replacement, which count among the most successful surgeries, are offering elderly people a new lease of life.

The insertion of plates, screws and nails is another example of surgical intervention in traumatology. It allows patients to move shortly after surgery, without experiencing joint stiffness. Sport injuries are also frequent reasons for consultation. Cruciate ligament tear, knee strain or shoulder injuries (strain or dislocation) are common and easy to treat. “In such cases, we usually perform arthroscopic surgeries, which are minimally invasive and less painful. The inpatient stay and recovery time are thus shortened, and the chances to develop an infection are reduced,” adds Dr. Gopal.

Before undergoing any surgical procedure, a pre-operative orthopedic workup is however indispensable to ensure patients’ security and preparation for the operation. This includes full clinical examination, blood tests and x-rays. Such tests are used to establish the patient’s profile and assess their general health condition, the presence of comorbidities, and the condition of their vital organs. “This is a very important workup as it helps assess the risks for the patient, who will be placed under anesthesia and undergo surgery. From there, we can advise the patient and their relatives, so they are given the opportunity to think before taking a decision,” says Dr Gopal. Pre-operative workup does not only apply to orthopedic procedures, but precedes every surgical intervention. The number of tests and the necessity of in-depth examination depend on the nature of the intervention and other factors, such as age and known comorbidities.

The length of the stay at the clinic varies from case to case and according to the patient’s condition. While some procedures, such as diagnostic arthroscopy, tendon repair and the treatment of fractures, can be done on an outpatient basis, other major interventions require inpatient care, the length of which is determined by the specialist. Furthermore, the industry of orthopedic surgery is continuously breaking new ground, with more effective and innovative tools being produced every year. “With the introduction of new techniques and technologies, inpatient stay tends to be reduced. We had patients who underwent complex spinal surgeries and were released after one day only,” says Dr Gopal.

Thinking of making an appointment with an orthopedic and trauma surgeon? Call 401 95 00 and we will guide you.

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