Extremity Injuries and Open Fractures
Although you may have visions of operating night and day in the chest and abdomen in a combat setting, the truth is that you will be dealing with extremity injuries much more frequently than anything else. Because of modern combat mechanisms and improved protective equipment and vehicles, the extremities remain the most vulnerable area to injury (Fig. 19.1). You have most likely dealt with some extremity trauma in the civilian setting, but probably have left most of it to the orthopedic surgeons to manage. In combat you will see extremity injuries unlike anything you have seen in the civilian arena, and you will often not have the luxury of an orthopedic surgeon immediately available to handle it. Review the upper and lower extremity anatomy before you deploy to a combat setting – you will definitely need it.