Introduction In January 2013, France launched a military operation in Mali, which ended in August 2022. This study aimed to analyse the global activity performed by a surgical team within the role 2 medical treatment facility (MTF) deployed in Gao during this period, in order to adapt medical battlefield support and combat casualty care teaching.
Methods A retrospective study was conducted using the French surgical database OpEX (French Military Health Service) from January 2013 to August 2022. All patients operated on were included.
Results During this period, 1298 patients with a median age of 29 (range: 23–38) years were included. Among them, 229 (17.6%) underwent a combat-related trauma surgery (CRTS), 234 (18.0%) underwent a non-CRTS, 167 (12.9%) underwent a non-trauma-related surgery and 668 (51.5%) underwent a scheduled surgery in the context of medical supply to the population.
Among the CRTS group, 195 (85.2%) patients underwent an orthopaedic procedure, 73 (31.8%) required a general surgery. Finally, 15 (6.6%) wounded required a specialised surgery.
Conclusions In line with the activity described in the role 2 MTF deployed in other contemporary asymmetric conflicts, this activity is moderate, especially if only combat-related injuries are considered; medical support to the population occupied most of the surgical activity. For CRTS, most of the traumas are limb traumas. Other traumas are composed of various lesions, which are often life-threatening. This fact imposes the presence of an orthopaedic surgeon with the appropriate equipment, as well as a general surgeon with a wide range of skills, in asymmetric conflicts.
- adult surgery
- trauma management
- orthopaedic & trauma surgery
Data availability statement
Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available.
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Contributors HdL collected the data; PA analysed the data; GP wrote the article and acts as guarantor; LM reviewed the article before submission.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Disclaimer The article expresses their own ideas, rather than any official position of the Military French Health Service.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.