Compartment Syndrome - Frequently Asked Questions

Dr. Rashmi Singh
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Rashmi Singh, B.Sc, B.D.S.
Last Updated on Jan 25, 2016
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which doctor would I consult for compartment syndrome?

Your family doctor might initially see you for the symptoms. He may later refer you to an orthopedic surgeon, podiatrist or a doctor specializing in sports medicine for further treatment.

2. When should I seek medical care for compartment syndrome?

You should seek medical care immediately if you experience any unusual pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, weakness or soreness mainly in the legs or arms while doing any activity or exercise or after an injury. Remember, these symptoms may be associated with conditions that may require immediate medical treatment. Ignoring these symptoms and exercising through the pain could lead to permanent muscle or nerve damage.

3. What are the associated risks if I donít get medical help on time to treat compartment syndrome?

If treatment is delayed for any reason, then you could have irreversible muscle and nerve damage. If left untreated, it can cause lasting damage; you may need to have part of the injured arm or leg removed. You could also experience heart problems, infection, rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown) and kidney damage.

4. Can surgery be done on both legs at the same time if you have compartment syndrome in both?

Generally, surgery is performed on one leg at a time. There should be a minimum of six weeks of time between surgeries to make sure there is complete healing and recovery.

5. When can I expect complete recovery from surgery?

The recovery from surgery depends upon the amount of dead tissue present. If the surgeon finds no dead tissue at the time of fasciotomy, then you can expect to have full recovery soon, however if he does then recovery can take approximately 1 to 2 months.

6. Would the compartment syndrome recur after surgery?

Few cases of recurrence of compartment syndrome have been reported, however they are quite rare.

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