Management of Open Fractures
The large spectrum of open fractures is an amalgamation of injuries with the single variable in common of communication of the fractured bone with the outside environment, and thus an increased risk for infection. Contributing to the presence of bacteria within the fracture site is devascularized soft tissue, the degree of which can be directly attributed to the amount of energy imparted to the tissues. The currently used classification system aids in defining the degree of severity of these injuries and their subsequent risk for infection. The basic management principal for all of these injury patterns remains essentially the same, however: prevention of infection through debridement, wound management, antibiotic usage, and fracture stabilization. Frequently multiple surgical procedures will be required in order to obtain an infection free, united fracture with adequate soft tissue coverage (1).