Complex Dismounted IED Blast Injuries: The Initial Management of Bilateral Lower Extremity Amputations With and Without Pelvic and Perineal Involvement


The magnitude of recent combat blast injuries sustained by forces fighting in Afghanistan has escalated to new levels with more troops surviving higher-energy trauma. The most complex and challenging injury pattern is the emerging frequency of high-energy IED casualties presenting in extremis with traumatic bilateral lower extremity amputations with and without pelvic and perineal blast involvement. These patients require a coordinated effort of advanced trauma and surgical care from the point of injury through definitive management. Early survival is predicated upon a balance of life-saving damage control surgery and haemostatic resuscitation. Emergent operative intervention is critical with timely surgical hemostasis, adequate wound decontamination, revision amputations, and pelvic fracture stabilization. Efficient index surgical management is paramount to prevent further physiologic insult, and a team of orthopaedic and general surgeons operating concurrently may effectively achieve this. Despite the extent and complexity, these are survivable injuries but long-term followup is necessary. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 21(1):8–14, 2012)

LCDR Christiaan N. Mamczak, DO and CAPT(s) Eric A. Elster, MD