Indications for the Appropriate Use of Damage Control Surgery and Damage Control Interventions in Civilian Trauma Patients


  • Derek J Roberts
  • Juan Duchesne
  • Megan L Brenner
  • Bruno Pereira
  • Bryan A Cotton
  • Andrew W Kirkpatrick
  • Mansoor Khan



Damage Control Surgery, Damage Control Interventions, Indications; Wounds and Injuries


In patients undergoing emergent operation for trauma, surgeons must decide whether to perform a definitive or damage control (DC) procedure. DC surgery (abbreviated initial surgery followed by planned reoperation after a period of resuscitation in the intensive care unit) has been suggested to most benefit patients more likely to succumb from the “vicious cycle” of hypothermia, acidosis, and coagulopathy and/or postoperative abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS) than the failure to complete organ repairs. However, there currently exists no unbiased evidence to support that DC surgery benefits injured patients. Further, the procedure is associated with substantial morbidity, long lengths of intensive care unit and hospital stay, increased healthcare resource utilization, and possibly a reduced quality of life among survivors. Therefore, it is important to ensure that DC laparotomy is only utilized in situations where the expected procedural benefits are expected to outweigh the expected procedural harms. In this manuscript, we review the comparative effectiveness and safety of DC surgery when used for different procedural indications. We also review recent studies suggesting variation in use of DC surgery between trauma centers and the potential harms associated with overuse of the procedure. We also review published consensus indications for the appropriate use of DC surgery and specific abdominal, pelvic, and vascular DC interventions in civilian trauma patients. We conclude by providing recommendations as to how the above list of published appropriateness indications may be used to guide medical and surgical education, quality improvement, and surgical practice.




How to Cite

Roberts, D. J., Duchesne, J., Brenner, M. L., Pereira, B., Cotton, B. A., Kirkpatrick, A. W., & Khan, M. (2021). Indications for the Appropriate Use of Damage Control Surgery and Damage Control Interventions in Civilian Trauma Patients. Journal of Endovascular Resuscitation and Trauma Management, 5(1), 13–23.



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