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Ulus Travma Acil Cerrahi Derg. 2019 Jul;25(4):417-423. doi: 10.5505/tjtes.2018.83727.

Steel rod impalement injuries involving the spine: A case report and literature review.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Adıyaman University Faculty of Medicine, Adıyaman-Turkey.
Department of General Surgery, Adıyaman University Faculty of Medicine, Adıyaman-Turkey.
Department of Emergency Medicine, Adıyaman University Faculty of Medicine, Adıyaman-Turkey.
Department of Anesthesiology and Reanimation, Adıyaman University Faculty of Medicine, Adıyaman-Turkey.


Steel rod impalements, mostly experienced by construction workers due to falls from heights, are known entities, but only some individuals unfortunately suffer spinal cord injury. The management of the spine involved injuries is challenging due to the lack of guidelines, various clinical presentations resulting from different trajectories, and high risk of infection. We report a case of steel rod impalement involving the spinal canal and review the literature to enhance the management strategies and to identify the risk factors for possible complications, particularly infection. A 37-year-old male construction worker presented to our emergency department due to falling onto a concrete reinforcing steel rod that penetrated through his perineum to the L4 vertebra. Examination revealed paralysis and sensory loss of the left foot. The rod was removed in the operating room (closed removal) under general anesthesia, followed by laparotomy. Rectal laceration was primarily repaired, and colostomy was performed. In a separate session, laminectomy was performed. At 3 months post-discharge, the patient was ambulatory with armrest based on the same motor examination performed on presentation This case is a good example of careful preoperative planning, multidisciplinary involvement, and appropriately sequenced interventions resulting in an acceptable outcome for an injury with high morbidity and mortality and demonstrates the feasibility and potential benefits of closed removal of the rod in an operating room just before laparotomy. The presence of an intestinal perforation increases the infection risk, but infections can still be prevented in this setting. Shorter time intervals between the incidence and surgery may reduce the infection rate.

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