Wound closure expectations after fasciotomy for paediatric compartment syndrome
Purpose Acute compartment syndrome often requires additional surgery to achieve wound closure. Little information exists regarding the expected number of surgeries, techniques and complications after closure in paediatric patients. Methods A retrospective chart review identified patients treated for acute compartment syndrome at four hospitals over a ten-year period. The cause of injury, type of dressing, number of surgeries, type of closure and complications were recorded. Results In all, 32 patients (mean 10.9 years, 1 to 17) who underwent 18 lower and 14 upper extremity fasciotomies met inclusion criteria. Definitive wound closure technique was delayed primary in 72%, split thickness skin graft in 25%, and primary in 3% of patients. Closure required a mean 2.4 surgeries (0 to 4) over a mean 7.7 days (0 to 34). Days to closure and number of surgeries required were not significantly affected by mechanism of injury, fasciotomy location or type of dressing used. A total of 23.1% of patients with upper extremity and 0% with lower extremity fasciotomies had concerns about the scar appearance. Other complications included neurapraxia (6.7%), stiffness (6.7%), swelling (3.3%), scar pain (3.3%) and weakness (3.3%). Conclusions The most common complication after paediatric compartment syndrome is an unpleasant scar. Wound closure after upper or lower extremity fasciotomies in paediatric patients requires a split thickness skin graft in approximately one in four patients. However, avoiding a skin graft does not guarantee the absence of cosmetic concerns, which are more likely following upper extremity fasciotomies. Level of Evidence IV.
Journal of Children's Orthopaedics
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Shirley, Mai, V., Neal, K. M., & Kiebzak, G. M. (2018). Wound closure expectations after fasciotomy for paediatric compartment syndrome. Journal of Children’s Orthopaedics, 12(1), 9–14. https://doi.org/10.1302/1863-2548.12.170102