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Spring 2011

Timely, Expert Management of Complex Trauma

While many simple fractures or broken bones heal without surgery, more complicated fractures require more specialized care as quickly as possible. Unless patients are seen at a trauma center where such expertise is readily available, injured patients and their families are left scrambling to find an appropriate surgeon.

Saam Morshed, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., an orthopaedic surgeon and trauma specialist at the UCSF Orthopaedic Institute at Mission Bay, said, "Once a traumatic injury occurs, the clock is ticking. Timely pain relief, optimal healing and return to function are best achieved with appropriate early management."

That's why specialty centers like the Orthopaedic Institutes trauma clinic exist, with services that include:

  • Treatment of simple fractures
  • Treatment of complex periarticular trauma
  • Treatment of fractures of the pelvis and acetabulum
  • Secondary (staged) treatment for injuries initially treated at other facilities (perhaps nonoperatively or with an external fixator), but that still require further treatment
  • Treatment of bones that fail to heal properly, including nonunions or malunions

Tailored Treatments Rooted in Research

Centers like this can confidently treat complex problems because their staffs include fellowship-trained, highly experienced trauma surgeons who are expert in the treatment of all aspects of skeletal injury, and who are dedicated to educating patients about their condition and treatment. These experts work collaboratively, using evidence-based guidelines, many of which they have developed.

In addition, at UCSF, orthopaedic trauma surgeons run numerous clinical trials that explore techniques for improving everything from fracture repair to post-trauma rehabilitation.

Perhaps most important, as a major referral center for complex trauma care, UCSF prioritizes keeping referring physicians informed about their patients' progress and explaining post-treatment recommendations to ensure optimal long-term outcomes.

"We're a one-stop shop, performing everything from simple fracture care to state-of-the-art minimally invasive surgery and the treatment of complications resulting from injury, such as bone realignment or enhancement procedures,” Morshed said. "However, rather than pushing the latest therapy, our goal is to give each patient the best treatment for their condition and individual needs, based on the best available science."

Dr. Saam Morshed can be contacted at (415) 206-7846 or (415) 20-ORTHO.

Ultrasound for Improving Tibial Fracture Healing

As one example of clinical research at the UCSF Orthopaedic Institute, researchers are conducting a trial to assess the use of ultrasound in treating tibial fractures. Ultrasound is proven effective for tracking bone healing, and several preclinical and small clinical studies suggest that low-intensity ultrasound may also speed and improve healing in humans.

To qualify for the trial, patients must begin treatment within two weeks of their injury. They will receive a free device or placebo device and close radiographic and clinical follow-up for one year.

To find out more about this and other UCSF clinical trials focusing on fractures and skeletal trauma care, call (415) 206-4378.

Related Information

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