Quantitative analysis of intermuscular septa in the leg: Implications for trauma surgery
JournalTrauma Surgery and Acute Care Open
PublisherBMJ Publishing Group
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractBackground Compartment syndrome is the excess swelling within an inelastic compartment leading to excessive compartment pressure. Lower limb trauma has a high risk of compartment syndrome, which is typically mitigated using a two-incision fasciotomy. Our previous findings showed surgeons sometimes perform incomplete fasciotomies due to misidentifying the septum between the lateral and superficial posterior compartments as the septum between the anterior and lateral compartments. We conjectured this may be due to variability in the septal position between individuals leading to misinterpretation of the septal identity. Methods A retrospective analysis was performed using CT angiograms to analyze septal position between the anterior and lateral compartments of the leg of 100 patients randomly selected from the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center database. Results Analysis of septal position showed that (1) as the septum progresses distally down the leg, the relative septum position shifts anteriorly; and that (2) there was considerable variability in the intermuscular septum position between individuals even when accounting for the anterior to posterior progression of septal position. Discussion This variability could lead to erroneous septal identification in individuals with a very anteriorly located septum during a leg fasciotomy with the classic initial incision being insufficiently anterior. We propose making the lateral initial incision 'two finger breadths posterior the tibia' rather than the traditional 'one finger breadth anterior' to the fibula. This moves the initial incision slightly anteriorly, uses the more readily palpable tibia, and makes the medial and lateral incisions symmetrical at 'two finger breadths' from the tibia, simplifying the procedure. Level of evidence Level 3.
SponsorsU.S. Department of Defense
Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/10713/16315