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What is compartment syndrome?

Compartment syndrome involves the compression of nerves and blood vessels within an enclosed space. This leads to

impaired blood flow and muscle and nerve damage. Compartment syndrome is a condition in which there is swelling and an increase in pressure within a limited space (a compartment) that presses on and compromises blood vessels, nerves, and/or tendons that run through that compartment. Hence, the function of tissue within that compartment is compromised. Compartment syndrome is a painful condition that develops when swelling takes place within an enclosed area (compartment), in which muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and bones in the compartment have no room to expand. Pressure on arteries, veins, and nerves causes extreme pain, slows circulation to the muscles and nerves, and may cause permanent damage to these tissues. The swelling that causes compartment syndrome may be caused by decreased blood flow, trauma, bleeding, fluid buildup, or other factors. A compartment syndrome is a medical emergency. It requires immediate treatment to prevent tissue death and permanent dysfunction.

More information on compartment syndrome

What is compartment syndrome? - Compartment syndrome is a painful condition that develops when swelling takes place within an enclosed area (compartment).
What causes compartment syndrome? - Swelling leading to compartment syndrome is associated with high-energy trauma. Compartment syndrome may also occur due to tight bandages or casts.
What're the symptoms of compartment syndrome? - Symptoms of compartment syndrome include numbness, tingling, pain or loss of movement in an extremity.
How is compartment syndrome diagnosed? - Diagnosis of compartment syndrome begins with a medical history and physical exam. The raised pressure within the compartment will be measured.
What's the treatment for compartment syndrome? - Treatment for compartment syndrome is surgery. Long incisions are made in the fascia to release the pressure building inside.
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