Compartment Syndrome, Post-Operative Onset

Compartment Syndrome, Post-Operative Onset

Compartment syndrome is a potentially devastating post-operative complication in which increased pressure results in insufficient blood supply to muscle and nerve tissue within the effected internal space. Causes of compartment syndrome in the post-operative patient include: being left too long in a position during surgery that blocked one or more blood vessels; or, having bandages or casts too tightly applied.

This medical condition can arise in response to bleeding and/or swelling in any area of tissue that has little or no capacity to expand because it is covered by fascia, a tough, inflexible membrane. The role of fascia is to cover and hold muscle tissue in place, but its strength and lack of elastic properties means that in the event there is bleeding or swelling beneath this rigid layer, the fascia will not stretch to relieve the pressure building beneath it. Instead, the fascia layer holds the swelling or bleeding in place, which creates crushing pressure that cuts off the blood supply to the muscle and nerve tissue below. Compartment syndrome occurs most often in the legs, but it can also affect the arms, hands, feet, and buttocks.

Acute compartment syndrome (ACS) is a surgical emergency, and unless the pressure within the effected space is relieved quickly and blood flow to the affected muscle and nerve cells is rapidly restored, necrosis of the soft tissues and permanent disability may occur. The most important factor of outcome is early recognition and speedy surgical intervention to open the fascia (fasciotomy).

The five Ps (pain, pallor, pulselessness, paralysis and paresthesia) are taught as the clinical symptoms of compartment syndrome. Pain is typically ‘out of proportion’ to the injury and is severe enough to require increasing the dosage of pain medication.

If the compartment pressure is left untreated or the diagnosis is delayed, severe rhabdomyolysis, irreversible nerve and/or muscle damage, loss of limb, or even death may occur. Compartment syndrome warrants prompt evaluation and treatment by a trained medical professional.

If you or a loved one has suffered permanent injury due to acute compartment syndrome, contact The Yost Legal Group today at 1-800-YOST-LAW (800-403-7259). The attorneys at Yost Legal Group are experienced, caring professionals ready to investigate your claim with compassion and determination. Call us today to receive a free, confidential consultation about your possible case. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you will never pay an attorney’s fee up front, and you owe us nothing unless we win your case.