Fasciotomy or fasciectomy is the surgical cutting of the fascia to relieve the pressure. A fascia is a connective tissue that surrounds muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. The procedure is used to treat compartment syndrome. If pressure is not relieved within 12-24 hours, permanent nerve damage can occur and the limb will eventually be amputated.
1. Starts with an Incision
The main purpose of a fasciotomy is to make the muscles swell and relieve the pressure within the compartment area. The patient is, of course, put into a regional anesthesia. Here the fascia is opened to ease the pressure. The muscle is exposed in a sterile environment covered usually by a sterile gauze. The exposure usually lasts 48 to 72 hours.
2. Insertion of Surgical Strings
These rubber strings are inserted so that if the pressure is relieved, they can be carefully pulled together to gradually tighten and close the incision.
3. Closing the Incision
Here, the incision is closed. If you compare it with the first picture above, you’ll see that the swelling and bulging was relieved.
4. Attachment with a Surgical Stapler
The skin layer of the incision is then connected using a surgical stapler and some stitches. Sometimes, when the fascia is not completely closed, the surgeon places a needed skin graft to close the wound.
Images courtesy of GeneralBS