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Traumatology is a branch of medicine that focuses on injuries and wounds caused by accidents or violence (such as a car accident or gunshot wound), as well as the surgical repair and therapy of the damage. In some countries, traumatology is often a sub-specialty of orthopedic surgery. Physicians who specialize in traumatology are called traumatologists.
Traumatology generally has two branches: medical traumatology and psychological traumatology. Medical traumatology deals with the surgical procedures and physical therapy a patient may need in order to repair the damage and recover from the accident or violence, while psychological traumatology deals with the damage to the patient’s mind due to a distressing event. Psychological and medical traumatology go hand in hand. For instance, a patient in a car accident who broke their wrist may need surgery to repair their arm, and they may have anxiety when they drive a car post-accident, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In most cases, traumatologists act under urgency since they need to resolve situations that can threaten their patients’ lives. Traumatologists perform a wide range of procedures. They use diagnostic imaging, such as MRIs, CT scans, ultrasound, and radiography in order to understand the type and extent of the damage. They may also use oropharyngeal airway and tracheotomy of the airway (if necessary) to ensure that their patients can breathe properly. They may also stabilize any possible fractures, and checks the central and peripheral nervous system to assess the state of consciousness and responsiveness of the patient.
Your length of stay depends on the extent of the damage and trauma exposure, as well as the type of procedure you will undergo. In general, plan to stay at least 7 to 10 weeks in United States because you will need to let your body recover before traveling any distances and also to attend several follow-up checkups where your doctor assess your overall condition, monitor your healing, and remove any surgical stitches.
Recovery can be different from one person to another, depending on the extent of the damage and trauma. If there are fractures and you underwent surgery to repair it, you may experience full healing after 8 weeks. Your doctor will let you know the exact time you can go back to work and resume your normal activities.
Your doctor may recommend that you receive physical therapy to help you recover faster. It can strengthen your muscles and improve your range of motion, helping you to return to your normal life as quickly as possible. If you were diagnosed with PTSD, your doctor may give you self-care instructions, such as exercise and socializing with safe and familiar people who can be a good support system. You may need to attend follow-up checkups with your doctor, but you can choose to have these checkups with your local doctor at home.
As the field of traumatology continues to advance, the success rate of the procedures continues to increase as well. The rescue success rate reached approximately 95%, while the missed and /or delayed rate is less than 5%. Of course, there are risks with every procedure, such as misdiagnosis, infection, unsuccessful surgery, and in very rare cases, death. However, these risks are minimal.
There are no alternatives to seeing a traumatologist after an accident, violence, or other traumatic experiences. Your traumatologist may work with other specialists or refer you to a relevant specialist if necessary.
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