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Dynamic Wound Closure for Decompressive Leg Fasciotomy Wounds

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Decompressive fasciotomy for preservation of lower extremity function and salvage is an essential technique in trauma. The wounds that result from the standard two incision fourcompartment leg fasciotomy are often accompanied by a wide soft tissue opening that in the face of true compartment syndrome are often impossible to close in a delayed primary fashion. We describe a technique using a device that allows for dissipation of the workload across the wound margin allowing for successful delayed primary closure. Consecutive patients who presented to the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad, Iraq with a diagnosis of compartment syndrome of the leg, impending compartment syndrome of the leg, or compartment syndrome of the leg recently treated with fasciotomies were followed. All patients underwent placement of the Canica dynamic wound closure device (Canica, Almonte, ON, Canada). Eleven consecutive patients treated at a combat support hospital in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom underwent fourcompartment fasciotomies for penetrating injuries. There were five patients that underwent a vascular repair [three superficial femoral artery (SFA) injuries and two below knee popliteal artery injuries] and six patients that had orthopedic injuries (three comminuted tibial fractures, two fibula fractures, and one closed pilon fracture). Patients returned to the operating room within 24 hours for washout and wound inspection. Mean initial wound size was 8.1 cm; mean postplacement size was 2.7 cm; average time to closure was 2.6 days. All patients were able to undergo primary wound closure of the medial incision and placement of the Canica device over the lateral incision. Ten of the 11 patients (91%) could be closed in delayed primary fashion after application of the device. In our series of patients with penetrating wartime injuries and compartment syndrome of the leg we have found the use of this dynamic wound closure device to be extremely successful and expedient.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: From theVascular Surgery Service and the 2: Orthopedic Surgery Service, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Washington and the 3: Division of Vascular Surgery, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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