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A study of patients with serious lower limb injuries is presented. With these injuries it is important to decide whether the limb should be salvaged at the risk of losing a life. Seventy-six patients are described and compared with a group of patients with similar injury severity scores but without serious lower limb injury. It is concluded that it is often preferable to amputate the limb rather than to risk the patient's life.
Attempts at preservation of a limb were unsuccessful in 20 of the 54 patients in whom this was attempted. Secondary amputation was often performed in unsatisfactory conditions because of general complications that had resulted from the delay.
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Accepted: February 27, 1986
© 1987 Published by Elsevier Inc.