Effect of the timing of tourniquet release on postoperative hematoma formation: An experimental animal study

Harvey N. Himel, Marsood Ahmad, Steven R. Parmett, H. William Strauss, James W. May

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

There is a controversy over when to release a pneumatic tourniquet after completing a hand surgical procedure. To study this controversy, we performed a standardized operation with tourniquet inflow occlusion on both lower legs of a series of rabbits. Total tourniquet time and the procedure performed, including intraoperative Bovie electrocautery of actual and potential bleeding points identified with 2.5ՠloupe magnification, were identical on the two sides, except for the method of tourniquet release. On one leg, the tourniquet was released and all new bleeding points were controlled prior to wound closure. On the other leg, the tourniquet was released after the wound had been closed and dressed. Animals were injected with technetium-99m-labeled red blood cells and scanned to measure hematoma formation. Qualitatively, we observed more label in the leg whose tourniquet was released after wound closure in 17 of the 20 animals (p < 0.005). Quantitatively, we also measured more mean label in the leg whose tourniquet was released after the wound was closed (p < 0.001). Tourniquet release after wound closure was associated with greater hematoma formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)692-698
Number of pages7
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Volume83
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1989
Externally publishedYes

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