Trauma is an orthopedic specialty concerned with the repair of severe musculoskeletal injuries. Typically these injuries are acute and result from slips and falls, motor vehicle accidents, athletic injuries or violence. Primarily, trauma surgeons are involved in the surgical repair of fractured or dislocated bones and the repair of damaged soft tissues.
Surgical treatment of traumatic fractures often involves fixation with metallic plates, screws and rods (internal fixation). These implants mechanically stabilize the fracture and prevent motion, permitting the body to initiate a healing response. At time of surgery, adjunctive agents (such as autograft, cadaver bone and synthetic filling materials) are often implanted along with internal fixation to fill bony gaps or facilitate the healing process.
The prognosis for traumatic injuries varies as a function of injury severity. Patients with multiple injuries, extensive bone or soft tissue loss, local site infection, nerve or vascular damage are generally harder to treat. Additionally, patients with systemic diseases or other risk factors such as diabetes and smoking history, respectively, are at greater risk for failed surgery (non-union).
In the United States alone there are over one million procedures performed annually. BioMimetic Therapeutics is currently investigating recombinant platelet-derived growth factor (rhPDGF-BB) with an osteoconductivescaffold to stimulate repair of traumatic fractures. Pre-clinical investigations have shown positive results, suggesting this technology could potentially be developed as an adjunct to these surgeries.