Cryoamputation as a Temporizing Measure in Severe Burn Injury

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Cryoamputation, or physiologic amputation, is a well-described procedure typically used to amputate gangrenous lower extremities. In such cases the patient is too unstable for transport to the operating room, so cryoamputation using dry ice or other refrigerant allows for immediate bedside intervention and later operative amputation when the patient is more stable. In this study the authors describe the use of cryoamputation to stabilize a burn patient with a nonviable upper extremity considered to be contributing significantly to his metabolic acidosis. This experience suggests that cryoamputation may be a reasonable technique to consider when a burn patient presents with a nonviable extremity but is too unstable for immediate operative amputation.

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