Management of traumatic popliteal vein injuries



      The aim of this study was to evaluate different repair methods of popliteal vein injuries, and to assess the relationship between early patency and surgical outcome.


      Thirty patients with popliteal vein injuries underwent surgical repair procedure at our hospital from March 2000 to April 2010. Patients who were haemodynamically unstable and those with massive bleeding from limb wounds were taken directly to the operating room. Stable patients underwent preoperative colour-flow duplex ultrasonography (CFDU).


      Our study group consisted of 26 males and 4 females, ranging in age from 17 to 60 years with a mean age of 25.3 ± 5.9 years. The mechanism of trauma was penetrating in 27 patients and blunt in the remaining 3 patients. Treatment included primary venous repair in 11 cases, end-to-end anastomosis in 8, interposition vein graft in 10, and interposition polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) graft in 1. There were 26 patients with associated arterial injury, of which 4 cases had primary repair, 9 had end-to-end anastomosis, 11 had saphenous vein graft interposition, and 2 had PTFE graft interposition. Associated bone fracture was seen in 6 patients. There were no deaths. One patient required a below-knee amputation. Postoperative CFDU revealed thrombosed venous repair in 7 cases without any sequelae.


      Popliteal venous injuries can be repaired with minimal downside and a good early patency rate. Additionally, transient venous patency allows for establishment of venous and lymphatic collateralisation. Alternatively, venous ligation should be considered only in unstable patients who refuse blood transfusion (Jehovah's witnesses). In these victims, adjuvant management may be required such as the use of fasciotomy and anticoagulation treatment.


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