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Acute compartment syndrome of the thigh in a body builder following open reduction and internal fixation for proximal femur fracture


Acute compartment syndrome (ACS) of the thigh following femoral fracture has been rarely reported in previous literature. This condition must be diagnosed quickly to prevent the affected limb becoming ischaemic. We document the management of ACS of the thigh in a healthy male patient who suffered a proximal femur fracture following a high-speed road traffic accident. Early identification of characteristic clinical signs allowed for a diagnosis of ACS to be made and then managed with an emergency fasciotomy. The patient is a bodybuilder with an exceptionally large muscle mass. This made ACS more difficult to identify and wound closure a complex process over a period of 13 days. We aimed to highlight the importance of maintaining a high index of suspicion for ACS following traumatic injuries, recognising that ACS in larger patients can be mistaken for an increased analgesia requirement and closing fasciotomies slowly using mass tension sutures.

  • Orthopaedic and trauma surgery
  • Pain

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