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Advances In Trauma

Eric Miller, M.D., Director, Orthopaedic Trauma, Department of Orthopaedics, Orthopaedic Focus Winter 2010

As a sub-specialty, orthopedic traumatology is an ever and rapidly changing field within orthopedics. Technological advances continually improve our ability to treat difficult fractures with increasing success. Similarly, hospitals committed to trauma care must continually reevaluate current practices to provide the most up-to-date care for severely injured patients.

Summa Health System is committed to providing quality trauma care to its patients. The institution has proven that commitment by:

  • Hiring its first fellowship-trained orthopedic traumatologist as director of orthopedic trauma 
  • Increasing access to operating rooms on a scheduled basis for trauma surgeons
  • Providing funding for new technologies, including the Trigen Sureshot, Starr Frame pelvic reduction device and percutaneous acetabular surgery

With the hiring of a dedicated traumatologist, Summa Health System has committed to providing the highest quality care for orthopedic trauma patients. Filling this position allows for quality assurance and improved communication and collaboration between surgical services, which will ultimately improve the care delivered to patients.

Summa also has dedicated orthopedic trauma operating room access, so delivery of care can be immediate when necessary and scheduled semi-electively when appropriate.  This allowed for the creation of an orthopedic trauma team, including nurses, scrub technicians and radiology technicians who efficiently deliver high-quality care.

New technology, when applied appropriately, has the ability to advance the care delivered to our patients. Summa is devoted to this endeavor – new equipment has been purchased to keep its surgeons on the forefront of evolving technologies.

Summa surgeons utilize Trigen Sureshot, manufactured by Smith and Nephew, for placement of freehand locking screws in femoral and tibial nailing procedures. This new technology utilizes magnetic resonance technology to virtually eliminate the need for fluoroscopy when placing these screws, which reduces operating room time, radiation exposure to the patient, surgeon and staff and improves accuracy of placement – all while reducing cost.

Furthermore, Summa trauma surgeons make use of the Starr Frame pelvic reduction device – one of few centers in the United States leveraging this technology. Many times, this frame obviates the need for large open exposures to the pelvis, which can carry a significant rate of complications. It allows for accurate reduction of pelvic injuries through pins placed percutaneously into the pelvis.

The frame then holds the pelvis in a reduced position, freeing up hands in the operating room and allowing placement of internal fixation in a less hurried, more relaxed setting. The complication rate with this device is minimal as skin incisions are small percutaneous in type.

Percutaneous acetabular surgery, similar to the Starr Frame, allows for fixation of specific fracture patterns of the acetabulum, utilizing custom-made clamps and long screws.  With clamps placed through minimally invasive incisions and screws placed through percutaneous incisions, the complication rate is minimized while providing fixation for these fractures. But not all patients are candidates for this type of surgery.

Summa Health System has proven its dedication to providing the highest level of orthopedic trauma care available to its patients and continues to do so by providing its surgeons with the latest technology available.