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Surgery for Chest Trauma

Chest trauma or injury comprises of damage to the internal organs of the chest region, including the heart, lungs, bones and blood vessels. Occurring primarily due to motor vehicle accidents and acts of violence, chest trauma may result from the impaction of blunt or penetrating objects (knife stabs, bullets and blast fragments). Some of the injuries include:

  • Rib fracture
  • Injury and bruising of heart and lung due to foreign objects or pieces of fractured rib
  • Rupture of aorta (major blood vessel) and esophagus (food pipe)
  • Opening in the diaphragm (muscle separating chest and abdominal cavity)
  • Airway obstruction
  • Leakage of air in lung cavity and buildup of internal pressure
  • Accumulation of blood and fluid in lung and heart cavities

A chest trauma is treated as an emergency and various lifesaving surgical procedures are performed within minutes after admission to the emergency unit. Some of these procedures include:

  • Tube thoracostomy: Insertion of a tube into the lung cavity to remove excess air, pus, blood, or other fluid accumulation
  • Thoracotomy: Long incision made in the chest region to access the lung and release the accumulation of fluid in heart cavity, control bleeding and provide access for internal cardiac massage (manual massaging of the heart)
  • Pneumonectomy: Excision of all the lobes of a lung
  • Lateral aortorrhaphy: Repair of aorta (largest artery in the body)
  • Removal of damaged tissue and suturing the healthy ends of the trachea (wind pipe) and esophagus
  • Suturing and repair of cardiac, pulmonary and blood vessel wounds to prevent loss of blood
  • Removal of foreign bodies
  • Pain control, oxygen therapy and ventilation

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