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The mangled extremity and attempt for limb salvage

Anastasios V Korompilias1*, Alexandros E Beris1, Marios G Lykissas1, Marios D Vekris1, Vasileios A Kontogeorgakos1 and Panayiotis N Soucacos2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Ioannina School of Medicine, Ioannina, Greece

2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Athens School of Medicine, Athens, Greece

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Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 2009, 4:4  doi:10.1186/1749-799X-4-4

Published: 13 February 2009



The decision, whether to amputate or reconstruct a mangled extremity remains the subject of extensive debate since multiple factors influence the decision.


Sixty three patients with high energy extremity trauma and attempts at limb salvage were retrospectively reviewed. We analyzed 10 cases of massive extremity trauma where there was made an attempt to salvage limbs, although there was a controversy between salvage and amputation.


All of the patients except one had major vascular injury and ischemia requiring repair. Three patients died. All of the remaining patients were amputated within 15 days after the salvage procedure, mainly because of extremity sepsis. Seven patients required treatment at the intensive care unit. All patients had at least 2 reconstruction procedures and multiple surgical debridements.


The functional outcome should be considered realistically before a salvage decision making for extremities with indeterminate prognosis.