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Damage control surgery (DCS) represents a staged surgical approach to the treatment of critically injured trauma patients. Originally described in the context of hepatic trauma and postinjury-induced coagulopathy, the indications for DCS have expanded to the management of extra abdominal trauma and to the management of nontraumatic acute abdominal emergencies. Despite being an accepted treatment algorithm, DCS is based on a limited evidence with current concerns of the variability in practice indications, rates and adverse outcomes in poorly selected patient cohorts.Recent efforts have attempted to synthesize evidence-based indication to guide clinical practice. Significant progress in trauma-based resuscitation techniques has led to improved outcomes in injured patients and a reduction in the requirement of DCS techniques.DCS remains an important treatment strategy in the management of specific patient cohorts. Continued developments in early trauma care will likely result in a further decline in the required use of DCS in severely injured patients.