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    Background: Management of open fractures remains a major clinical challenge because of the higher energy involved in the injury, the greater local trauma, tissue necrosis, and extensive contamination. Even though early surgical debridement was thought to be critical, limited available operative techniques have minimized surgery in favor of early antibiotic administration. No clear agreement on the surgical approach, debridement, or irrigation technique exists. Surgeons continue to argue about the use of various fluids, the appropriate pressure of irrigation, antiseptics, and other factors. The current work reviews the available data and summarizes the capabilities of modern orthopedic irrigation solutions. Methods: To delineate available research on the topic, the PubMed database was queried for the most common techniques, fluid variables, and chemical adjuvants utilized in current open fracture and wound irrigation methodologies. Modes of delivery, volume, pressure, temperature, timing, solution type, and additives are evaluated in the context of known outcomes to determine which solutions may be preferable. Results: Various methods have been described with their own advantages as well as limitations. Particular solutions may apply to specific clinical scenarios, presence of implants, and degree of tissue contamination. Desired irrigation solutions are isotonic, non-toxic, non-hemolytic, transparent, sterilizable, efficient in removing debris and pathogens, as well as affordable; however, no current irrigant achieves all these desired characteristics. Conclusions: Despite being crucial for the healing of open fractures, there is no clear gold standard for irrigation. Although there are some novel irrigation solutions, there has been a paucity of research on finding new, safer, and more effective irrigation solutions that will promote wound healing and reduce infection.


    Mursal Gardezi, Daniel Roque, Douglas Barber, Carole S L Spake, Jillian Glasser, Ellis Berns, Valentin Antoci, Christopher Born, Dioscaris R Garcia. Wound Irrigation in Orthopedic Open Fractures: A Review. Surgical infections. 2021 Apr;22(3):245-252

    PMID: 32589513

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