Iraq and Afghanistan: Orthopaedic Surgeons Fighting the Fight Off the Battlefield

Working to Protect Our Soldiers' Lives and Limbs

SAN FRANCISCO--(Marketwire - March 5, 2008) - The 'signature' wounds encountered in the on-going wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are musculoskeletal in nature.

"Modern war produces devastating high energy wounds," explained Captain D. C. Covey, MD, U.S. Navy chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Naval Medical Center, San Diego. "Whether due to rocket propelled grenades, bombs or improvised explosive devices, many battlefield wounds are very challenging to treat. The extent and severity of these very injuries is bringing the military and Congress together to discuss dedicating further resources to military trauma wounds.

"Due to great improvements in body armor, which safeguard the head and torso, military orthopaedic surgeons are seeing a group of extremity wounds that have been infrequently seen in survivors of previous conflicts." Dr. Covey also noted that musculoskeletal trauma comprises about 7 out of 10 people who sustain battlefield injuries.

--  Nearly 35,000 military members have been injured in Iraq and
    Afghanistan, thousands whom have sustained brain trauma and grievous wounds
    to the extremities.

Today, at the 75th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), Dr. Covey and five seasoned orthopaedic military surgeons address:

--  the challenges of these devastating and unique war injuries;
--  new research and techniques for treating wounds and amputees;
--  new programs whereby military orthopaedic surgeons and civilian
    orthopaedic surgeons exchange talents;
--  personal struggles and stories.

"The field of regenerative medicine offers great potential to improve the treatment of patients with severe war injuries," said Dr. Covey.

Military orthopaedic surgeons agree that additional research and resources are needed to further advance orthopaedic care for the severely injured in order to improve their chances of leading a full life. For the past three years, the AAOS and other orthopaedic society partners have held symposia every January on Extremity War Injuries. This arena brings together thought leaders, from both government, military and civilian life, to foster thinking and ways to further utilize resources to best help and treat these horrific wounds.

"Iraq: Orthopaedic Surgeons Fighting the Fight Off the Battlefield," will be presented in a media briefing to be held on Wednesday, March 5 at 10:30 a.m. in Room 224 of the Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco. Captain Covey will serve as moderator, and will be joined by Christopher Born, MD, Mark W. Richardson, MD, Eric Bluman, MD, Steven J. Morgan, MD, and William Krissoff, MD.

Dr. Krissoff has recently left his orthopaedic practice in Nevada after learning his 25-year-old son had been killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq. At the age of 61, he signed up with the Navy Medical Corps Reserves. He will complete his Navy training over the next few months and hopes to go to a field hospital in Iraq to help others.

Editor's Note: Full disclosure information for each AAOS media briefing participant is available upon request. Please contact Catherine Dolf, (Cell) (847)-894-9112, or Lauren Pearson, (Cell) (224)-374-8610, for more information.

War Injuries

Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA)

Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons (SOMOS)

About AAOS

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Contact Information: For more information, contact: Lauren Pearson (224) 374-8610 (847) 384-4031 Catherine Dolf (847) 894-9112 (847)384-4034