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Fractures & Trauma

The orthopaedic trauma service at UCI Health serves Orange County’s 3+ million residents as the only Level I trauma center in the region. Our three orthopaedic trauma surgeons: Dr. John Scolaro, Dr. James Learned, and Dr. Philip Lim each have specialized training in the treatment of both new and old fractures. Our Physician Assistant (PA), Mr. Taras Pylypiv, rounds out our team.

We are the only hospital in Orange County to have a team of surgeons with advanced training to evaluate and treat complex musculoskeletal injuries such as fractures of the pelvis and acetabulum (hip socket), fractures involving native joints, joints ​that have been replaced, as well as fractures that do not heal or have healed incorrectly ​resulting in deformity and disability.

What is a Fracture?

A bone fracture, or break, can occur following an impact or stress to the bone. In some instances, bone is weakened over time due to repetitive loading or medical conditions such as osteoporosis, making it more prone to fracture. Fractures are commonly uncomfortable and can limit mobility.

Fracture Treatment

In some situations, fractures can be treated without surgery. This is especially true in fractures where the pieces have not moved out of place. Some fractures can be treated with immobilization, such as ​with a cast or splint, or with protected activity for a period of time. In other instances, fractures are best treated with surgical re-alignment and fixation, to provide stability and aid in healing. Surgical treatment is also warranted for “open” fractures where the bone ​has been exposed through a break in the skin or when fractures result in injuries to nearby nerves or blood vessels. These are often referred to as “compound” fractures.

Fracture Healing

Fractures generally heal in one of two ways. When left alone or placed in a cast, they usually heal by making new bone around the injury. This leads to the development of extra healthy new bone around the area that was injured. In some areas of the body, such as within joint, this additional bone could cause a problem, and fracture surgery is then used to get the broken pieces to heal together directly to each other, without extra bone formation. This type of healing is also desired for some simple fractures.

In some instances, fractures fail to heal in an appropriate amount of time. This is called a “nonunion”, and an operation is usually needed in order to heal a nonunion. In other instances, a fracture may heal but in the incorrect position. This is called a “malunion” and may cause significant deformity or lead to problems in the surrounding joints.

The orthopaedic trauma service at UCI Health provides unparalleled orthopaedic fracture care. Please contact (714) 456-7012 to make an appointment with one of our highly trained providers.