Shaping the military wound: issues surrounding the reconstruction of injured servicemen at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2011 Jan 27;366(1562):219-30. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0237.


The conflict in Afghanistan has produced injuries similar to those produced from military conflicts for generations. What distinguishes the modern casualty of the conflict in Afghanistan from those of other conflicts is the effectiveness of modern field medical care that has led to individuals surviving with injuries, which would have been immediately fatal even a few years ago. These patients present several challenges to the reconstructive surgeon. These injured individuals present early challenges of massive soft-tissue trauma, unstable physiology, complex bony and soft-tissue defects, unusual infections, limited reconstructive donor sites, peripheral nerve injuries and traumatic amputations. Late challenges to rehabilitation include the development of heterotopic ossification in amputation stumps. This paper outlines the approach taken by the reconstructive team at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in managing these most difficult of reconstructive challenges.

MeSH terms

  • Extremities / injuries*
  • Extremities / surgery
  • Humans
  • Military Medicine / methods*
  • Military Medicine / trends
  • Military Personnel
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / pathology
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / prevention & control
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries*
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • United Kingdom
  • Warfare*
  • Wound Infection / microbiology
  • Wound Infection / prevention & control*
  • Wounds and Injuries / surgery*
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*