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Lower extremity compartment syndrome
  1. Jennifer Cone,
  2. Kenji Inaba
  1. Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, LAC+USC Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kenji Inaba, Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, LAC + USC Medical Center, 2051 Marengo, IPT c5L100, Los Angeles, California 90033, USA; kinaba{at}


Lower extremity compartment syndrome is a devastating complication if not rapidly diagnosed and properly managed. The classic symptoms of compartment syndrome can be deceiving as they occur late. Any concern for compartment syndrome based on mechanism, or the presence of pain in the affected extremity, should prompt a compartment pressure check. Both absolute compartment pressures above 30 mm Hg and a pressure differential of less than 30 mm Hg are used to make the diagnosis. The treatment goal is first to save the patient’s life and second to salvage the affected limb. Fasciotomy is the only accepted treatment of compartment syndrome and should be performed quickly after the diagnosis is made. Outcomes after fasciotomy are best when there is no delay in treatment.

  • compartment syndrome
  • lower extremity trauma
  • lower extremity

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  • Contributors JC wrote the article. KI organized, reviewed, and edited the article.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.