Surgery for Traumatic Injury

This surgery aims to re-align and hold broken bones, ligaments and/or tendons which occurred during an accident or traumatic event.

Do you need surgery?

If you experience an injury that results in severe pain, swelling or numbness, or difficulty taking weight through the injured limb, you should seek assessment by a doctor. Depending on the severity, this may be your general Practitioner or a Hospital Emergency Department. X-rays or scans are helpful in determining whether your injury may heal with time, or if surgery is needed.

What happens during surgery?

The surgical incision and steps vary depending on the size and location of the injury. In most instances, your surgeon evaluates the injury, realigns and holds the broken tissue in place while healing occurs. In the case of bony breaks, a metal screw, plate, or rod may be required to hold the ends of the break together while soft tissues are usually repaired with stitches.

What could go wrong?

Complications can occur with surgery for traumatic injuries. Risks tend to increase if you have more severe or multiple injuries. Complications include delayed wound healing, delayed bone healing, failure of the repair, infection, and the risks of having an anaesthetic. It is important to discuss risks and voice any concerns you may have with your surgeon before having surgery.

Participating in your rehabilitation

Your hospital stay may be overnight in the case of a broken ankle or arm bone, or a few weeks if you have surgery for multiple breaks. To protect your healing tissue, you may need to wear a sling, brace or plaster for a few days or up to 6 weeks. Take regular pain medication if necessary. An exercise program aimed at maintaining movement and strength in your unaffected limbs will be provided for you to follow at home. Participating in a structured exercise program supervised by a Physiotherapist, when advised to do so, will assist you in achieving the best possible result.

Benefits you can expect

Most bony breaks heal near to 100% of their strength, however nearby ligaments and tendons may not. Most patients can resume their usual daily activities following a recovery period by 2-6 months. At your consultations after surgery, your surgeon can advise you regarding return to sport and physically-demanding activities.