Orthopedic Surgery, When to Fix and When to Wait: April 13, 2019

They are common injuries seen at the Trauma Center. “As an orthopedic trauma surgeon, the majority of my injuries are high-speed motor vehicle collisions, motorcycle accidents, falls. A lot of the stuff is fractures of femurs, tibias, the pelvis region, long bones, stuff that needs to not only go to the hospital but then be treated by an orthopedic trauma surgeon before they leave the hospital,” explained Dr. Cesar Cereijo, an orthopedic trauma surgeon with Lee Health.

If a patient comes in with a broken bone—orthopedic trauma surgeons will evaluate the injury to determine the best form of treatment. “Here in Fort Myers, it’s been bicycle accidents, people that get hit by cars walking across the streets, boating accidents,” he said.

While certain injuries need immediate treatment like surgery—others like wrist fractures or ankle fractures may be better off waiting to do surgery until the swelling has gone down. “Those surgeries, we plan them out, and they are usually same day surgery where people go in, have their fracture fixed and go home,” Dr. Cereijo said.

In some cases, the soft tissue, muscles, and skin need time to heal before doctors can operate. “I can make an incision and put plates and screws, but if you’re too swollen I can’t close you, and that just increases your chance for infection and problems later on down the road,” said Dr. Cereijo.

Regardless of the type of injury, it’s important to see a doctor if you feel like you have damaged a bone or ligament—to make sure the injury heals properly.