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Pelvic fracture-related urethral and bladder injury


Major pelvic ring fracture (PRF) due to blunt trauma results in lower urinary tract injury (LUTI) in up to 10% of cases. Significant comorbidity may result and this is particularly the case for unrecognised injury. The increase in military injuries due to improvised explosive devices in recent conflicts has revealed a complex injury cohort. The incidence of pelvic fracture related LUTI in these casualties is up to three times higher than that seen in civilian patients with pelvic fracture. A complete understanding of LUTI following pelvic fracture is still lacking. Complex fractures of the anterior pelvic arch are associated with LUTI and initial management is largely conservative. In battlefield injuries, the combination of the blast wave, penetrating fragment and bodily displacement results in open pelvic fracture combined with gross perineal and pelvic soft-tissue destruction and traumatic femoral amputations. These are some of the most challenging injuries that any surgical team will manage and life saving measures are the priority. There are established pathways for the management of LUTI following blunt trauma related pelvic fracture. Military injuries are more complex and require a significantly different approach. This paper outlines the developments in the understanding and management of pelvic fracture-related LUTI, focussing primarily on injury mechanisms and early management. Recent military surgical experience is discussed, highlighting the significant differences to civilian practice.

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