Trauma Surgery 

Trauma surgery is a surgical discipline specializing in treating traumatic injuries. A surgical specialty, trauma surgery uses both operative and nonoperative means to treat traumatic injuries. Often required in emergency situations, trauma surgery involves specialists who have extensive knowledge of surgical procedures as well as the effective management of many different types of injuries and illnesses.  

When Is Trauma Surgery Necessary? 

Trauma surgery is usually performed in emergency settings, especially in cases of: 

  • Severe blunt or penetrating trauma 
  • Thermal, chemical, frostbite or inhalation injury burns 
  • Surgical critical care conditions for patients with sepsis, respiratory failure, organ failure or coagulopathy 
  • Acute care for appendicitis, diverticulitis, cholecystitis, abdominal abscesses and other emergency onset conditions 

What Does Trauma Surgery Involve? 

The exact procedure that a trauma surgeon performs will depend on the emergency condition being treated, but may commonly involve: 

  • Emergency thoracotomy (surgical incision to the chest wall) 
  • Exploratory laparotomy (surgical incision into the abdominal cavity) 
  • Chest wall stabilization 
  • Emergency resuscitation 

Trauma surgery is performed by highly trained and specialized physicians who are capable of working under the intensive conditions of emergency healthcare. Most often, these life-saving procedures are performed after a patient is brought directly to a hospital’s emergency room.  

What Complications Can Occur With Trauma Surgery? 

Because trauma surgery is an emergency procedure performed when the patient is already at increased risk of death, serious complications can occur. The earlier trauma surgery is performed after a traumatic injury or sudden illness, the higher a patient’s chances of survival and rehabilitation. After trauma surgery is performed, a patient can expect to experience possible side effects that are common with most surgical procedures such as pain, soreness, swelling, nausea, vomiting and restlessness.  

Effectiveness of Trauma Surgery 

If performed immediately, trauma surgery can be effective at treating many emergency conditions. Seeking this treatment directly following a traumatic injury or the sudden onset of another ailment is best approach.  

Tampa General Hospital is Tampa Bay’s first and only Level I trauma center and is considered one of the nation’s elite institutions for quality care. We have ann onsite trauma team of extensively trained trauma surgeons, physicians, nurses and other medical specialists on hand 24/7 to perform these life-saving procedures.