Management of extremity fasciotomy sites prospective randomized evaluation of two techniques

Laura S. Johnson, Mitchell Chaar, Chad G. Ball, Sebastian Perez, Jeffrey M. Nicholas, Amy D. Wyrzykowski, Grace S. Rozycki, David V. Feliciano, Christopher J. Dente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Morbidity from the treatment of extremity compartment syndrome is underappreciated. Closure technique effectiveness has yet to be definitively established. Methods: A randomized non-blinded prospective study was performed involving patients who underwent an extremity fasciotomy following trauma. Shoelace wounds were strapped with vessel loops under tension and VAC wounds were treated with a standard KCI VAC dressing. After randomization, patients returned to the OR every 96 h until primarily closed or skin grafted. Results: 21 patients were consented for randomization with 11 (52%) successfully closed at the first re-operation. After interim analysis the study was closed early with 5/5 (100%) of wounds treated with the shoelace technique closed primarily and only 1/9 (11%) of VAC wounds closed primarily (p = 0.003). Overall primary closure was achieved in 74% of patients. Conclusions: Aggressive attempts at wound closure lead to an increased early closure rate. For wounds that remain open after the first re-operation, a simple shoelace technique is more successful than a wound VAC for achieving same hospital stay skin closure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)736-739
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Fasciotomy
  • Shoelace technique
  • Vacuum-assisted closure
  • Wound closure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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