It is no secret that serious injuries can occur when someone is involved in a car accident. In some cases, the injuries can lead to serious medical conditions that can affect the rest of a person’s life or even lead to death. Our California readers might be interested in learning about compartment syndrome, which is a condition that can occur after an accident.
What is compartment syndrome?
Swelling after trauma to an area can lead to increased pressure in an area called a muscle compartment. That increased pressure can lead to nerve damage, muscle damage and compromised blood flow. If the pressure isn’t relieved, the muscle tissue might begin to die. If that muscle tissue death is severe or if the pressure isn’t relieved quickly, amputation might be necessary.
What are the symptoms of compartment syndrome?
The most noticeable symptom is often excruciating pain in the affected area. This pain isn’t usually abated by pain medications. The skin of the affected area might become pale, the sensation in the area might be diminished, the area can become numb and the area might tingle or be weak.
What is the treatment for compartment syndrome?
The treatment is emergency surgery in which the muscle tissue is cut to relieve the pressure in the compartment. After surgery, the area is left open for 48 to 72 hours before being closed in a second surgery. It might be necessary to have skin grafts to close the wound.
With all the talk of a two-surgery process to treat this condition and possible amputation, it is easy to see how serious compartment syndrome is. All those treatments require the victim to remain in the hospital, which means a loss of income and mounting medical bills. People who are diagnosed with compartment syndrome after an accident might opt to seek compensation to help defray the costs of care and recoup some of the lost wages.
Source: National Institutes of Health, “Compartment syndrome” accessed Jan. 16, 2015