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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A review of orthopedic injuries in three recent U.S. military conflicts.

We conducted a retrospective review of all patients with orthopedic injuries evacuated to a single medical center to evaluate the treatment and outcome of these injuries in three recent U.S. military conflicts: Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada), Operation Desert Shield/Storm (southwest Asia), and Operation Restore Hope (Somalia). Sixteen orthopedic casualties were originally treated at the medical detachment in Grenada before evacuation to the medical center. Most of these injuries were gunshot wounds to the extremities (11), with three known open fractures. Two patients (three extremities) sustained traumatic amputation (19% amputation rate). One hundred eighty-one patients with orthopedic injuries were medically evacuated from southeast Asia to the medical center for definitive treatment. Of these injuries, there were 143 fractures in 69 patients. One hundred of these fractures were open fractures, and 60% of these injuries were blast injuries. Furthermore, there were 26 amputations (14%). Twenty-two patients with orthopedic injuries were treated in Somalia and evacuated to the medical center. Thirteen of the 22 patients (59%) sustained gunshot wounds, and 2 (9%) sustained blast injuries. There were eight open fractures (36%) and three amputations in two patients (14%). Three of the 22 patients underwent successful limb salvage when ablation was the only other surgical alternative. It appears that a large percentage of medical center evacuations from military conflicts are for orthopedic injuries. Many of these injuries are the result of high-velocity weapons or blast injuries. Regardless of the size and/or purpose of the intervention, similar injury patterns and severity can be expected, because 51% of orthopedic patients had open fractures. Similarly, the rate of amputation associated with extremity trauma has not varied significantly since the Vietnam War.[1]


  1. A review of orthopedic injuries in three recent U.S. military conflicts. Islinger, R.B., Kuklo, T.R., McHale, K.A. Military medicine. (2000) [Pubmed]
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