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Surg Today. 2007;37(1):5-8. Epub 2007 Jan 1.

Fat embolism syndrome.

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Department of Surgery, Trauma and Emergency Medicine Service, Istanbul Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul University, 34210, Capa, Istanbul, Turkey.


Fat embolism syndrome (FES) was first described in 1862, but its frequency today is still unclear. A diagnosis of FES is often missed because of a subclinical illness or coexisting confusing injuries or disease. Fat embolism syndrome develops most commonly after orthopedic injuries, but it has also been reported after other forms of trauma such as severe burns, liver injury, closed-chest cardiac massage, bone marrow transplantation, and liposuction. Although FES usually presents as a multisystem disorder, the most seriously affected organs are the lung, brain, cardiovascular system, and skin. Fat embolism syndrome is a self-limiting disease and treatment should be mainly supportive. Many drugs have been used to treat FES, but the results are inconclusive.

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