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Am Surg. 1998 Dec;64(12):1183-7.

Popliteal artery thrombosis associated with trampoline injuries and anterior knee dislocations in children.

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Section of Vascular Surgery, University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center, Lexington 40536-0084, USA.


Recent reports have emphasized the benign nature of trampoline-associated injuries. However, this study describes the limb-threatening problem of popliteal artery thrombosis occurring in association with anterior knee dislocation and trampoline injuries. Three children (ages 11, 13, and 17) were referred to the emergency room within the past 12 months with anterior dislocations of the knee, which occurred while jumping on trampolines. All patients had reduction of their dislocations at outside facilities and were referred within 6 to 12 hours after their injuries, with pulse, motor, and sensory deficits. All patients were taken directly to the operating room, where arteriography confirmed thrombosis of the popliteal artery below the knee. One patient had transection of the artery, whereas two patients had stretch injuries with intimal separation. Each patient required interposition grafting with reversed saphenous vein and underwent concomitant four-compartment fasciotomy. All patients had persistent sensory and motor deficits postoperatively, which were presumed to be a combination of ischemic injury and neuropraxia. All patients have functioning grafts with an average follow-up of 1 year (range, 9-15 months). One patient required a second interposition graft to treat an area of intimal hyperplasia, which developed at the proximal anastomosis, at 6 months postoperatively. Eighty per cent of trampoline injuries are associated with minor injuries with minimal long-term complications. However, dislocations of the knee may be associated with significant arterial injury and amputation rates of up to 30 per cent in many blunt trauma series. Based on our experience, physicians should recognize the possibility of significant arterial injuries occurring in children with anterior knee dislocations while jumping on trampolines.

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