Decompression of forearm compartment syndromes

R. H. Gelberman, G. S. Zakaib, S. J. Mubarak, A. R. Hargens, W. H. Akeson

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The diagnosis of forearm compartment syndrome by clinical findings alone has been difficult and inconsistent. This study was designed to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of forearm compartment syndromes. The authors evaluated several forearm incisions and determined their effectiveness by measuring compartment pressures using the wick catheter. The wick catheter is a simple, safe, and effective means of determining forearm compartment pressures. Preoperative and intraoperative measurements of the dorsal as well as the volar compartment pressures should be performed. Volar fasciotomy is effective in decompressing the volar compartment and may be effective in lowering the dorsal compartment pressure as well. Dorsal fasciotomy should be performed when that pressure remains elevated following volar decompression. The curvilinear volar and volar-ulnar incisions were equally effective in lowering compartment pressures experimentally, but the curved incision allowed better exposure to nerves and vessels and is preferred. Four case examples are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-229
Number of pages5
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
VolumeNO. 134
StatePublished - Dec 1 1978
Externally publishedYes

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    Gelberman, R. H., Zakaib, G. S., Mubarak, S. J., Hargens, A. R., & Akeson, W. H. (1978). Decompression of forearm compartment syndromes. Clinical orthopaedics and related research, NO. 134, 225-229.