For people who have inadequate or no medical background, the plethora of medical terms and jargon—and the nuances in the characteristics of medical specialties—can indeed be confusing. Two such terms are “emergency medicine” and “trauma medicine.” They’ve been flung around as though they are synonymous, but the fact of the matter is, they are not.
Let’s take a closer look at their differences by identifying the types of injuries encompassed by each specialty.
Injuries Treated in Emergency Departments
Emergency medicine essentially addresses a gamut of common conditions and injuries— from minor injuries to acute, potentially life-threatening conditions.
The following are some of the injuries commonly treated in the emergency room:
- Cuts and abrasions
- Simple fractures
- Soft-tissue injuries (sprains, strains, tendon tears and ruptures, rotator cuff injuries, etc.)
- Swollen muscles
Injuries Treated in Trauma Centers
Trauma centers are typically located within hospitals and are part of a larger emergency department. They are equipped and staffed with highly trained clinicians who specialize in treating injuries that are critical and invasive in nature.
The following are the types of medical practitioners on standby 24/7 in trauma centers.
- Cardiac surgeons
- Orthopedic trauma surgeons
- Trauma nurses
They are always prepared to treat patients who sustained severe, and sometimes, fatal injuries, such as the following:
- Blunt-force trauma
- Brain injuries
- Complex fractures
- Difficult-to-treat musculoskeletal injuries
- Gunshot and stab wounds
- Internal organ perforations
- Major burns
- Skull fractures
- Traumatic amputations
- Traumatic car crash injuries
ER Doctors Vs. Orthopedic Trauma Surgeons
The main distinction between ER doctors and trauma surgeons lies in their specialization. Albeit ER doctors also treat patients who sustained traumatic injuries by getting them stabilized for further treatment, ER doctors are generalists, and therefore, address injuries of all kinds. Orthopedic trauma surgeons, on the other hand, perform surgeries to address injuries that are specific to the musculoskeletal system (bones, cartilage, ligaments, muscles, and tendons).
ER doctors and trauma surgeons receive the same education in medical school; however, it is their training after graduation that greatly differs. An ER doctor only spends three to four years in a residency program, while an orthopedic trauma surgeon spends five to six years—and another several years in fellowship training to specialize in the treatment of complex musculoskeletal injuries.
Orthopedic Trauma Surgeons in Westlake and Avon, OH
At Orthopaedic Associates, our team of highly skilled orthopedic specialists includes two board-certified, fellowship-trained trauma surgeons who have established a solid reputation for providing exceptional care to countless patients in Westlake and Avon and their surrounding communities.
We also offer high-quality on-site physical therapy and rehabilitation services to ensure comprehensive care after your surgery.
If you have questions or would like to make an appointment with any one of our orthopedic trauma surgeons, call us at (440) 892-1440 or (866) 362-7624 or use our appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!