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Current Concepts in the Epidemiology and Management of Battlefield Head, Face and Neck trauma
  1. Major John Breeze, RAMC, Head and Neck Surgery Research Fellow1 and
  2. D Bryant, Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon2
  1. 1Academic Department of Military Surgery and Trauma, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham Research Park, Vincent Drive, Birmingham, England B15 2SQ johnobreeze{at}
  2. 2Consultant Advisor (Army) in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, The James Cook University Hospital, Marton Road, Middlesborough


There has been a significant increase in the incidence of head, face and neck (HFN) injuries in the 21st century in comparison to that experienced in the previous century. In the majority of HFN injuries the primary cause of death is secondary to airway compromise and with the exception of severe neck wounds haemorrhage is an unusual cause of death. Emergency cricothyroidotomy and semi- elective tracheostomy are skills that should be taught to deploying surgeons. There are now significantly increased numbers of potentially salvageable HFN injuries resulting from new and effective armour that protects the torso and abdomen. Equivalent armour to protect the neck and face is not yet effective and requires development. We describe the current epidemiology and management of battlefield head, face and neck trauma.

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