Management of Battlefield Injuries to the Skull Base

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Abstract

High velocity skull base injuries on the battlefield are unique in comparison to most civilian sector trauma. With more than 43,000 United States military personnel injuries during Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF), the most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have significantly expanded the understanding of the physiology of modern battlefield trauma and how to appropriately address these injuries. The acute care principles of effective triage, airway management, and hemorrhage control in these injuries can be life saving and are reviewed here. Specific injury patterns and battlefield examples are reviewed as well, with a review of some of the lessons learned while providing care in a deployed setting. Utilization of the knowledge learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have improved casualty care of deployed service members, can be used both in future military conflicts and in civilian trauma care.

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