Trends in the Surgical Management of Lower Extremity Gustilo Type IIIB/IIIC Injuries

Jack C. Burns, Ryan C. Decoster, Adam J. Dugan, Daniel L. Davenport, Henry C. Vasconez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Over the past 20 years, innovations in microsurgical technique have coincided with advances in orthoplastic approaches. However, no single algorithm exists to guide management of limb salvage versus amputation. As such, one would expect these procedures to be performed at equal rates given studies showing similar outcomes. Anecdotally, the observation at the authors' institution is that amputations are being performed more frequently. The purpose of this study was to determine trends in lower extremity trauma management. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted at a Level I trauma center on patients with Gustilo type IIIB/IIIC lower extremity trauma from 2005 to 2014. Overall, 148 patients were included. Patients were subdivided into amputation (n = 69) and reconstruction (n = 79) cohorts. The Spearman rank correlation coefficient was used to compare trends in amputation and reconstruction groups. Plastic surgery consultation data were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U and chi-square tests and the Pearson correlation coefficient. Results: Amputation was performed more frequently over the study period (r = 0.292; p < 0.001). Plastic surgeons were consulted in 67.5 percent of cases. A plastic surgery consultation was obtained in only 30 percent of amputation cases (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Although the data show a trend toward amputation and a shift in management of lower extremity trauma, the observed trend may be attributable in part to deviation from an orthoplastic approach to lower extremity trauma. However, lower extremity reconstruction remains a viable option in select patients, and advances in microsurgery can provide excellent outcomes in the face of severe lower extremity trauma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-189
Number of pages7
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Trends in the Surgical Management of Lower Extremity Gustilo Type IIIB/IIIC Injuries'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this