Diagnosis and management of closed internal degloving injuries associated with pelvic and acetabular fractures: the Morel-Lavallée lesion.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Closed internal degloving is a significant soft-tissue injury associated with a pelvic trauma in which the subcutaneous tissue is torn away from the underlying fascia, creating a cavity filled with hematoma and liquefied fat. It commonly occurs over the greater trochanter but may also occur in the flank and lumbodorsal region. When this closed internal degloving occurs over the greater trochanter, it is known as a Morel-Lavallée lesion. We reviewed 24 patients who sustained a closed internal degloving injury. Cultures from the closed internal degloving injury were positive in 46% (11 of 24 cases). The incidence of positive cultures was not dependent on the time from injury to debridement. All wounds were treated by thorough debridement before or during pelvic or acetabular surgery. Three patients subsequently developed deep-bone infections, only one of whom had a positive culture at the initial debridement. One patient whose wound was primarily closed over suction drains developed a chronic deep soft-tissue infection requiring multiple debridements. The development of hematoma in the zone of operation reduces the safety of early operative intervention by increasing the risk of infection. An expanding hematoma in a closed internal degloving injury may further compromise the skin vascularity if not promptly drained. The injured soft tissues should be debrided early, either before or at the time of fracture fixation. The wound should be left open, and repeated surgical debridement of the injured tissue is recommended.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hak, DJ; Olson, SA; Matta, JM

Published Date

  • June 1997

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 42 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 1046 - 1051

PubMed ID

  • 9210539

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-5282

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/00005373-199706000-00010


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States