Compartment Syndrome occurs when swelling in one “compartment” of the body, be it an arm or a leg or even the torso, is unable to be alleviated because the fluid cannot dissipate into other parts of the body due to the fascia. The fascia is the tissue, made largely of collagen, that prevents the organs or muscle of one compartment from shifting into another. Most of the time this is a good thing, unless swelling needs to be relieved.
The treatment for Compartment Syndrome involves a fasciotomy, where a surgeon cuts through the fascia to allow the fluid to disperse throughout the body. Unfortunately many of these procedures are performed incorrectly, or post-surgical care is lacking, leaving the patient to suffer long-term damage, including loss of limb. If the cut in the fascia is too large or too small, problems can occur.
To address the issue of improperly performed fasciotomies, device manufacturers are working to create new products that can address particularly problematic aspects of the procedure, including improving the quality of wound closure after the procedure is performed. These devices could be literal lifesavers for some patients.
When dealing with Compartment Syndrome, prompt and proper treatment is the most important factor in long-term prognosis. Though recognizing that acting quickly is the single largest determining factor in care, it is also important to make sure that medical professionals correctly finish the procedure, and that ongoing wound care is provided as necessary.
If you or someone you love has suffered due to a delayed diagnosis of Compartment Syndrome, or due to an improperly performed fasciotomy, please reach out to an experienced attorney. Until doctors and surgeons are held responsible for poor care, these types of major mistakes will continue to occur at an alarming rate.