Pulmonary aspects of treatment of long bone fractures in the polytrauma patient.
During the past decade, there have been significant advances in the treatment of long bone fractures in the polytraumatized patient. The major controversy in this area is whether definitive long bone stabilization needs to be done emergently. In general, definitive fixation should be done early in the patient's hospital course after it is determined that the patient is hemodynamically stable and is resuscitated adequately. The major benefits of fixation are: (1). improve mobilization to enhance pulmonary function; (2). decreased narcotic requirements with improved pain control after fixation; and (3). early aggressive fluid resuscitation associated with operative intervention. Patients with multisystem injury who are underresuscitated or are unstable should have early external fixation because temporizing skeletal stabilization until definitive fixation can be done.
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