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Overview of damage control surgery and resuscitation in patients sustaining severe injury

Babak Sarani, MD, FACS
Niels Martin, MD, FACS
Section Editor
Eileen M Bulger, MD, FACS
Deputy Editor
Kathryn A Collins, MD, PhD, FACS


Severely injured patients often do not have the physiologic reserve to tolerate definitive repair. The term "damage control" was borrowed from the United States Navy to refer to special teams that are responsible for keeping a severely damaged ship afloat until it can be returned to port for definitive repair. In a similar manner, damage control surgery serves to attend to immediately life-threatening conditions (keeping the patient afloat), while definitive management of these and other non-life-threatening injuries are delayed until after appropriate resuscitation. Although damage control surgery and resuscitation was initially described following abdominal injury, the basic principle has been extended to all aspects of trauma care

The principles of damage control and resuscitation, as well as the damage control sequence, are reviewed here. The surgical management of specific injuries is discussed in detail in separate topic reviews.

(See "Initial evaluation and management of penetrating thoracic trauma in adults".)

(See "Initial evaluation and management of blunt thoracic trauma in adults".)

(See "Initial evaluation and management of abdominal gunshot wounds in adults".)


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Apr 19, 2016.
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