“Certainly the evidence base from caring for these military wounds will enhance civilian care of traumatized patients, including those with head and neck and maxillofacial trauma,” said Richard Holt, MD, professor emeritus in the department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. “For example, new biomaterials are already being investigated on the battlefield for control of hemorrhage and to enhance healing.”
In a war zone, clinical research is effectively driven by the great number of patients needing assistance. Since these studies are larger than most civilian studies, they provide more data and information for practicing U.S. otolaryngologists-head and neck surgeons. There are developing data from OIF or OEF regarding facial injury treatment and how that knowledge can be used to treat otolaryngology patients in the civilian world, according to Dr. Holt.
“During the Vietnam War, many traumatic wounds were contaminated and left open with a delayed closure planned for a medical facility outside of the country,” Dr. Holt said. “During OIF, in spite of the unusual microbes present, it was possible to deal with wounds more aggressively and perform primary closure, albeit with the utilization of key antibiotics, in theater, as Dr. Lopez reported in his study.”