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During a 4-year period, in the Department of Plastic Surgery and Vascular Surgery at the Clinical Hospital Centre in Zagreb, 151 upper limb nerve injuries caused by war weapons were treated using microsurgical procedures, and 119 patients have been assessed. Among them, 44 patients with 58 nerve injuries had associated arterial injuries. It is of great importance that peripheral nerve as well as vessel injuries should be considered in all extremity war wounds. Every effort should be made to perform immediate revascularization of a damaged artery, as this is the best guarantee for long-term arterial patency. Reconstruction with autologous vein has been the method of choice for arterial was injuries. Injured peripheral nerves, at the time of vascular repair, were marked and left for secondary reconstruction. Primary repair of such injuries was contraindicated because it was impossible to determine the exact proximal and distal extent of injury. Functional results were obtained in only 44.8 per cent of cases with concomitant nerve and arterial war injuries, an outcome that could be explained by insufficient vascularization at the site of nerve repair (using both mechanisms of graft revascularization), as well as proximal levels of injury and extent of nerve damage, which resulted in long nerve defects.
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Received: March 29, 1997
© 1997 Published by Elsevier Inc.