Introduction 

Trauma and orthopaedics is an area of surgery concerned with injuries and conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system (the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles?and nerves).

You may be?referred to a trauma and orthopaedic consultant?for treatment of?an injury such as a bone fracture, a deformity of the spine or limbs, or a long-term condition that's developed over many years, such as osteoarthritis.

Orthopaedic specialists treat people of all ages, including:

  • newborns and children with deformities?? such as?congenital dislocation of the hip, club foot?and scoliosis
  • young people who need joint preserving surgery?? such as arthroscopic surgery or?osteotomy (see below)
  • older people?with irreversible degenerative joint problems?? who need their joints replacing

Orthopaedic specialists

Most consultants who work in trauma and orthopaedics provide emergency and non-emergency care for musculoskeletal injuries following an initial assessment in?accident and emergency (A&E).

They may:

  • diagnose?injuries or disorders using X-rays,?blood tests or other tests
  • treat injuries or conditions with medication or surgery
  • recommend exercises or?physiotherapy to restore movement, strength and functionality

Most orthopaedic consultants also have a specialist interest. This may be a particular orthopaedic condition, a specific area of the body, or a field such as paediatrics or sport surgery.

Orthopaedic operations

Some of the most common operations orthopaedic surgeons?carry out include:

  • repairing fractured bones???for more information, you can read about:
    -?broken arm or wrist
    -?broken ankle
    -?broken collarbone
    -?broken hip
    - broken leg
    -?broken ribs
  • arthroscopy?? a minimally invasive (keyhole) technique, where tools are inserted into a joint to diagnose and repair damaged joint tissue, such as?cartilage damage
  • repairing?damaged muscles, torn tendons or torn ligaments?
  • arthroplasty ? surgery used to replace or resurface joints, usually because of?arthritis;?hip replacements and?knee replacements are two widely used and highly effective operations
  • surgery to correct bony?deformity ? procedures to correct deformities of the spine or limbs that either limit function or would cause long-term problems if left untreated. Examples are fusion surgery (where?bones are welded together?to heal into a single, solid bone) and?osteotomy (correcting a bony malalignment to help prevent degeneration of an adjacent joint)?

The above links will take you to more detailed information about these conditions and procedures.

Page last reviewed: 28/05/2015

Next review due: 28/05/2017