Significance of orthopedic trauma specialists in trauma centers in Korea

  • Yong-Cheol Yoon
  • Chang-Wug Oh
  • Jong-Keon OhEmail author
Trauma Surgery



In 2012, the Korean central government selected trauma centers to provide effective treatment and reduce preventable mortality in severe trauma patients. General surgeons, thoracic surgeons, orthopedists, and neurosurgeons play pivotal roles in trauma centers, as most trauma patients require orthopedic procedures. This study aimed to underscore the importance of trauma orthopedic specialists (TOSs) by comparing treatment outcomes between a TOS and general orthopedists.

Patients and methods

Orthopedic trauma patients with injury severity scores > 15 points, admitted to level 1 trauma centers between March 2015 and December 2016, were divided into the TOS group (treated by 1 orthopedic trauma specialist who treats trauma patients with no limitation in the joint of specialization) and the general orthopedist group (GOG; treated by several general orthopedists who manage both trauma and disease but are each specialized in a certain joint). Emergency room response time, triage time, surgical preparation time, number of surgeries per patient, intensive care unit (ICU) duration, complications, and mortality were retrospectively analyzed.


Among 272 patients, 52 were treated by a TOS and 220 were treated by several general orthopedists. For the TOS group and the GOG, the average emergency room response time was 8 and 32 min; average triage time, 27 and 162 min; average surgical preparation time, 141 and 350 min; average number of surgeries per patient, 1.9 and 2.7; and average ICU duration, 8.5 and 12.2 days, respectively. The TOS group saved $2700 per patient. No statistical differences were found in complications and mortality between the 2 groups.


TOSs can provide rapid treatment to trauma patients and systemically participate in collaborative treatment with other specialists in a trauma center. As treatment provided by a TOS can also reduce the ICU duration, TOSs can play an important role in rapid rehabilitation and cost reduction for trauma patients.


Orthopedic trauma Orthopedic trauma specialist General orthopedist Korea 



The authors did not receive any grants or external funding to support their research, or in the preparation of this manuscript. They did not receive any payments or other benefits, or any commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from any commercial entity.


There is no funding source.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Orthopedic Trauma Division, Trauma CenterGachon University College of MedicineIncheonSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Orthopedic SurgeryKyungpook National University HospitalDaeguSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of Orthopedic SurgeryKorea University College of Medicine, Guro HospitalSeoulSouth Korea

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