Management of lawnmower injuries to the lower extremity in children and adolescents.
Lawnmower-associated trauma remains a substantial source of extremity injury in the pediatric and adolescent patient populations, producing complex wounds that require a combined orthopedic and plastic surgical approach. The authors review their experience with 16 patients, 2 to 17 years of age (mean age, 6.2 years), who were admitted to Duke University Medical Center for lower extremity lawnmower trauma between January 1988 and December 1999. The average hospitalization time was 13.5 days, and an average of 2.9 surgical procedures per patient were performed. Early debridement and bony fixation were carried out in all patients; 8 patients sustained traumatic amputations. Fifteen of 20 nonamputation fractures involved the foot and were managed with either closed reduction or K-wire fixation. Three of five long-bone fractures underwent external fixation. Wound closure was achieved with direct closure or skin grafting in the majority of patients. However, five microsurgical free flap transfers were required for extensive defect reconstruction of the foot (N = 4) and knee (N = 1). Adequate immediate debridement, fracture reduction, and early primary or if necessary secondary wound coverage including microsurgical free tissue transfer to prevent further damage and long-term disability in these type of devastating injuries is recommended.
Erdmann, D; Lee, B; Roberts, CD; Levin, LS
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