The management of ballistic fractures, which are open fractures, has often been studied in wartime and has benefited from the principles of military surgery with debridement and lavage, and the use of external fixation for bone stabilization.
In civilian practice, bone stabilization of these fractures is different and is not performed by external fixation.
Patients and methods
Fifteen civilian ballistic fractures, Gustilo II or IIIa, two associated with nerve damage and none with vascular damage, were reviewed. After debridement and lavage, ten internal fixations and five conservative treatments were used.
No superficial or deep surgical site infection was noted. Fourteen of the 15 fractures (93%) healed without reoperation. Eleven of the 15 patients (73%) regained normal function.
Ballistic fractures have a bad reputation due to their many complications, including infections. In civilian practice, the use of internal fixation is not responsible for excessive morbidity, provided debridement and lavage are performed. Civilian ballistic fractures, when they are caused by low-velocity firearms, differ from military ballistic fractures. Although the principle of surgical debridement and lavage remains the same, bone stabilization is different and is similar to conventional open fractures.
Level of evidence
Level IV (retrospective study).Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Ballistic fracture, Gunshot wound, Civilian, Debridement, Infection