Management of venous trauma

N. M. Rich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


There has been considerable interest in the management of injured extremity veins since the American experience during the Vietnam War. Fortunately, there are an increasing number of reports from civilian experience in the United States that add valuable information. Although the controversy continues, it appears that there is merit in repair of many injurued lower-extremity veins, particularly the popliteal vein when it is a single return conduit, assuming that the patient's general condition will permit, in an attempt to prevent acute venous hypertension initially and chronic venous hypertension subsequently. Figure 1 identifies the recovery potential that exists even if the initial venous repair fails. In contrast to thrombosis in the arterial system, recanalization is the rule in venous thrombosis. Patent valves can exist above and below the rather localized area of thrombosis. It appears that recanalization will prevent the problems of chronic venous insufficiency. It is obvious that many patients do well for years; however, the sequelae of acute venous hypertension may be more demonstrable after 10 or 15 years. There has not been similar evidence supporting a more aggressive approach in general in upper-extremity veins. However, it should be appreciated that a return pathway must remain patent, as noted in replantation of extremities. Obviously, there are differences in military and civilian wounds, with the former usually having more extensive soft-tissue destruction and obliteration of collateral veins and lymphatic channels. Unfortunately, many civilian gunshot wounds are being seen in the United States that are similar to the military type. We must not forget the lessons of the past, and we must continue to analyze our experience in the management of injured veins under a variety of conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-821
Number of pages13
JournalSurgical Clinics of North America
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


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