Traction Table–related Complications in Orthopaedic Surgery

Michael A. Flierl, MD, Philip F. Stahel, MD, David J. Hak, MD, Steven J. Morgan, MD and Wade R. Smith, MD J Am Acad Orthop Surg, Vol 18, No 11, November 2010

Abstract: Traction tables are used in numerous procedures about the hip and femur, including fracture fixation, hip arthroscopy, and less invasive arthroplasty. The use of a traction table is not without risks, however, and significant complications have been described, including injury to the perineal integument and soft tissues, neurologic impairment, and iatrogenic compartment syndrome of the well leg. The orthopaedic surgeon who uses a traction table for the surgical management of femur fracture must be familiar with the associated potential dangers and risks and must develop a plan to avoid traction table–associated complications, such as use of a radiolucent flat-top operating table for obese patients, adequate patient positioning, and the minimum possible surgical time.

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