Trauma surgeons are physicians (MBBS, MBChB, MB, MD) or (DO) who have completed residency training in general surgery and fellowship training in trauma or surgical critical care. The trauma surgeon is responsible for the initial resuscitation and stabilization of the patient, as well as ongoing evaluation. The attending trauma surgeon also leads the trauma team, which typically includes nurses, resident physicians, and support staff.
The majority of trauma surgeons practicing in larger centers complete a 1-2 year fellowship in surgical critical care. This allows them to sit for the American Board of Surgery (ABS) certifying examination in Surgical Critical Care. If this is passed, the examinee is then recognized as having a qualification in Surgical Critical Care. There is no separate board or examination for "trauma surgery".
The broad scope of their surgical critical care training enables the trauma surgeon to address most injuries to the neck, chest, abdomen, and extremities (other than fractures). Injuries to the central nervous system are generally treated by neurosurgeons. Musculoskeletal injuries are treated by orthopaedic surgeons. Facial injuries are often treated by maxillofacial surgeons. There is significant variation across hospitals in the degree to which other specialists, such as cardiothoracic surgeons, plastic surgeons, vascular surgeons, and interventional radiologists are involved in treating trauma patients.