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Am J Orthop (Belle Mead NJ). 2012 Feb;41(2):E27-35.

Updates in the management of orthopedic soft-tissue injuries associated with lower extremity trauma.

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Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York, USA.


Management of traumatic soft-tissue injuries remains a challenging and ever evolving field within orthopedic surgery. The basic principle of addressing life before limb in the initial assessment of critically injured patients has not changed. Although arteriography remains the gold standard for vascular injury screening, computed tomography angiography is being used more often to determine limb viability, and its sensitivity and specificity for detecting vascular lesions are reported to be excellent. Thorough debridement and irrigation with early institution of antibiotics are crucial in preventing infection; debridement should be performed urgently once life-threatening conditions have been addressed. Increasing use of vacuum-assisted closure therapy has created a trend down the reconstructive ladder, with improvements in resulting wound closure. Although the orthoplastics approach and new microsurgical techniques have made limb salvage possible in even the most severely injured extremities, it is important to clearly identify the zone of injury and to inform patients and their families of the outcomes of limb salvage versus amputation. Results from the LEAP (Lower Extremity Assessment Project) trials and similar studies should guide orthopedic surgeons in the management of these complex injuries. Nevertheless, it is important to individualize management plans according to patient factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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