University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas
Trauma and critical care surgeon Kareem Abdelfattah, M.D., is trained to be ready for anything. In caring for the more than 5,000 trauma patients and 600 burn patients admitted to UT Southwestern every year, Dr. Abdelfattah and his team have to be prepared not only to work on any part of the body, but also to make critical decisions at a moment’s notice. In addition to trauma surgery, Dr. Abdelfattah provides surgical solutions for painful conditions such as hernia repair and gallbladder disease. He often collaborates with gastrointestinal specialists to diagnose and determine the best approach to treat gallbladder disease, including problems related to gallstones and gallbladder inflammation. Dr. Abdelfatta says that most of the time when there is pain associated with gallbladder disease, the organ is removed. As with hernia repair, most gallbladder removals can be performed with minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. “Laparoscopic surgery gets people back to work more quickly than traditional surgery,” Dr. Abdelfattah says. “With our minimally invasive techniques, they get out of the hospital faster, and there is generally less pain. We do, however, still offer the option of open surgery, as well—we work with our patients to help them choose the approach that will work best for them.” Dr. Abdelfattah participates in a variety of trauma research projects at UT Southwestern. His team pursues a wide range of trauma topics to better understand the processes of injury and wound healing so that they can improve patient care and better educate others on injury prevention. Dr. Abdelfattah notes that trauma care happens fast, but caring for people who have had a potentially life-altering trauma doesn’t end with the initial surgery. “We also see patients for follow-up care, including patients who received trauma care, burn care, or emergency general surgery at another institution. We are here to help—we want to get patients back to their lives, with the best level of function possible,” he says.