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What Are the Symptoms of Compartment Syndrome?

Were you diagnosed with compartment syndrome after an auto accident? It can be hard to understand how such a serious injury can happen when there are few external symptoms. In this post, our Atlanta personal injury attorneys will explain why compartment syndrome develops and how it is treated. We’ll also discuss your rights if you are diagnosed with compartment syndrome after an accident.

What Is Compartment Syndrome?

The blood vessels, nerves, and muscles in your arms and legs are arranged in compartments. Each compartment is surrounded by a tough membrane called fascia, which keeps the muscle in place. Compartment syndrome is caused by crush injuries—which occur when a part of the body is trapped between two objects.

When the compartment is crushed, the muscles inside swell and push on the fascia. The fascia can’t expand. If the pressure inside the compartment isn’t relieved, the muscles, nerves, and blood vessels can sustain permanent damage. This pressure will cause excruciating pain that doesn’t go away, even with medication.

Other common symptoms of compartment syndrome include:

  • Lack of sensation below the injury
  • Unusually pale and shiny skin
  • General muscle weakness
  • Deep aching in an arm or leg
  • Pins-and-needles pain in the limb
  • Swelling, tightness, or bruising

How Is Compartment Syndrome Treated?

A patient with compartment syndrome needs immediate medical attention. Compartment syndrome will cause tissue death and nerve damage if the pressure is not relieved through surgical treatment. A surgeon will make several long cuts through the fascia in order to relieve the pressure in the compartment.

These cuts must be left open for 48 to 72 hours, or until the pressure is released and the swelling has gone down. Next, the fascia is repaired. The patient may require additional surgeries and extensive rehabilitation. If compartment syndrome is not treated in time, the extremity may even need to be amputated.

Complications Associated With Compartment Syndrome

Three main complications associated with compartment syndrome:

  • Swelling of the muscle can cause permanent nerve and muscle damage
  • If the damage causes muscle death, the patient may develop rhabdomyolysis
  • The damage may be severe enough that amputation is necessary

How Much Does It Cost to Treat Compartment Syndrome?

Compartment syndrome is an expensive injury. A patient will require at least two surgeries and must be hospitalized for several days. Once the patient is released, he will need extensive rehabilitative therapy. However, hospital and therapy bills are only part of the cost; the victim may also be unable to work for a period of time.

If the injury is severe enough, he may never be able to return to work. If you are suffering from compartment syndrome after a motor vehicle accident, you deserve accountability for all your losses—not just your medical bills. Contact the Atlanta personal injury lawyers at Kaufman Law to discuss your potential claim.

Contact Kaufman Law, P.C. to arrange your free initial consultation.