What is the role of surgery in the treatment of fat embolism?

Updated: Mar 26, 2018
  • Author: Constantine S Bulauitan, MD; Chief Editor: Vincent Lopez Rowe, MD  more...
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Answer

Early stabilization of long-bone fractures is recommended to minimize bone marrow embolization into the venous system. [26] Rigid fixation within 24 hours has been shown to yield a fivefold reduction in the incidence of FES. [8]

Appropriate surgical technique, particularly in reaming or nailing the marrow, may help reduce the volume of fat embolization. Utilization of a vacuum or venting during reaming has been shown to decrease the incidence of fat embolization. [8]

Prophylactic placement of inferior vena cava filters may help reduce the volume of fat that reaches the heart in at-risk patients.


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