Ask Dr. Lund: When to See an Orthopedic Trauma Surgeon?
When you experience orthopedic trauma complications, Dr. Lund offers innovative treatments to help.
Orthopedic trauma surgeon Dr. Erik Lund joined Summit Orthopedics to provide orthopedic and fracture trauma care to the patients admitted to hospitals in the HeathEast system. However, in certain cases, he also offers his surgical expertise to Summit patients. He identifies some of the circumstances when it is helpful for Summit Orthopedics patients to consult with him, and discusses specialty techniques he uses to treat complex fracture issues.
Types of orthopedic trauma treated by Dr. Lund in clinic
“Any acute orthopedic injury should go to a hospital emergency room for evaluation and treatment,” says Dr. Lund. “In fact, these are exactly the injuries I handle in hospital for Summit Orthopedics. However, sometimes complications can arise after a fracture has been fixed.” These can include:
- Non-union. Sometimes, bones don’t heal after a fracture.
- Fracture infections. Another fracture complication is the development of an infection at the fracture.
- A malunion is a situation where the bone heals, but in a less than optimal position. Treatment involves rebreaking the bone, cutting it, and resetting it so that it heals straight and functions correctly.
- Persistent pain. In some cases, a fracture may remain painful or stiff even after months of post-surgical recuperation. Or, a treated limb may not bend or straighten as much as you want it to.
- Hospital discharge in a splint. Sometimes, a hospital will release patients in a splint and instruct them to select their own surgeon to perform the primary corrective surgery.
Post-surgical fracture complications and splint discharges don’t require emergency room treatment,” Dr. Lund points out. “These are elective surgical issues, and that puts you in the position to choose the surgeon you want to treat you. If you’ve had surgery and your fracture is not healing well, come and see me. I’ll do a medical history, take x-rays and other appropriate labs, and make sure there’s no infection. We’ll evaluate all the reasons your healing isn’t going smoothly, and discuss treatment options.”
How fellowship training can improve fracture outcomes
“My fellowship training specialized in treating orthopedic trauma and fracture complications,” explains Dr. Lund. “In addition to intensive surgical training, we conducted research and published papers leading to practice-changing findings. I have treated hundreds of fracture complications using innovative techniques that outperform traditional techniques. This training gives me a depth of expertise with procedures such as corrective osteotomies for malunions, hardware removals, and bone grafting to support healing and help patients reclaim limb function.”
Innovative bone grafting techniques improve patient experience
“Bone grafting is one procedure we use in fracture care to bring extra bone to the site of injury,” says Dr. Lund. “Traditionally, a bone graft involved a big incision at the hip to cut bone out of the pelvis and then bring that bone to the injured site. Harvesting bone from the pelvis caused a significant amount of post-surgical pain. Patients had large scars and a long recovery time.”
By comparison, Dr. Lund applies an innovative approach to bone grafting that delivers a better patient experience. “I use a percutaneous technique to harvest bone through a small two-centimeter incision,” he explains. “My approach enables me to harvest a large amount of healthy bone graft from the femur or tibia—instead of the pelvic bone. I use a minimally invasive technique that enables me to get the bone graft from inside the femur without actually cutting the bone. There’s less orthopedic trauma, and that’s a lot less painful for the patient. And because we are often taking the bone graft through the same incision we use to do the graft, this approach reduces the number of surgical sites where tissue is traumatized. This advanced approach to grafting means a smaller scar, a faster-healing incision, and a much less painful recovery for the patient.”
New fracture fixation techniques provide more comfortable healing
“Fracture fixation techniques are evolving from the days when we set fractures with pins protruding through the skin,” Dr. Lund explains. “I have ways to make fewer or smaller incisions while using lower-profile implants like plates, screws, and new rods. These advanced implants are as effective or even more effective than traditional fracture techniques. In addition, I can use percutaneous screws, clamps, and implants to limit the number of surgical incisions.” Fewer incisions means reduced risk of infection, reduced post-surgical pain, and reduces problems with nerves and nerve pain.
“When treating orthopedic trauma, nerve pain can be caused when protruding or intrusive devices hold bones together while they heal,” he explains. “Because I use lower profile mechanisms, there’s less risk of irritation that can lead to nerve damage, muscle or tendon damage, and infection. Moreover, these advantages go hand-in-hand with lower post-surgical pain and less stiffness. Compared to traditional techniques, my approach means fewer pins sticking out of your wrist and no bumps and screw prominences at the fracture site. As a result, it’s less likely you’ll want a second surgery to remove uncomfortable implants. Overall, new fixation techniques are less noticeable, less irritating to the skin, and more comfortable.”
“The fellowship techniques I learned for fixing orthopedic trauma are an improvement over traditional techniques in many ways,” concludes Dr. Lund. “When your fracture recovery doesn’t happen as smoothly and successfully as you hoped, I’m happy to evaluate your injury and support your recovery. Helping my patients get back to their lives is the most rewarding part of my job.”
Summit Orthopedics supports healthy communities
Community health flourishes when specialized orthopedic care is conveniently available close to home. Summit Orthopedics is proud of our fellowship-trained subspecialty teams offering the full spectrum of orthopedic expertise in bone, tendon, ligament, muscle, and joint conditions—in addition to our wellness, prevention, and rehabilitation services. We have the expertise to proactively improve fitness, evaluate discomfort, and deliver personalized treatment to quickly and safely return you to the lifestyle you love.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as several additional community clinics.
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