MANAGEMENT OF WAR INJURIES – EXPERIENCE AT CMH RAWALPINDI DURING 2008 – 2010
Objective: To see the changing mode of injury from firearm to blast, pattern of injury with modern body armor and improved surgical options with results of different procedures done.
Study design: Descriptive study.
Place and Duration of Study: Department of Plastic Surgery Combined Military Hospital Rawalpindi between Jan 2008 and Dec 2010.
Material and Methods: All victims of low intensity conflict whether civilian or military personnel from all age groups without sex discrimination were included. Data was collected from history, transferring notes from the forward medical facility to this hospital, case record documents in this hospital and `patients follow up proforma. All these cases were managed in collaboration with other concerned specialties including orthopedic surgery, general surgery, otolaryngyology, maxillofacial surgery and vascular surgery.
Results: Plastic surgery department managed 212 patients over last three years i.e. 2008-2010. Age range was 14-58 years and male to female ratio was 71:1. Primary surgical wound management was done at field military hospitals in majority of cases and few were air evacuated directly to CMH Rawalpindi. Majority of injuries were caused by explosions followed by firearms. Simultaneous injuries were 68.9% and isolated injuries were 31.1%. Decision of wound closure was usually dependent on level of tissue damage, contamination and infection. Concept of reconstructive ladder was followed. Majority of wounds were closed in delayed primary setting. Infection was the most common complication followed by partial or complete graft or flap loss.
Minimum complication rate was encountered in the wounds which were closed in delayed primary setting.
Conclusion: All war wounds are primarily contaminated. If these wounds are closed in delayed primary setting after 2-3 debridements, best results can be achieved. Although infected wounds, wounds with severely damaged structures and injuries associated with tendon or nerve injuries or bone loss will require secondary reconstructive procedures.