The incidence of intra-articular low-velocity gunshot wounds is increasing as the number of civilians injured by handguns grows. The severity of these injuries can vary and the general principles of managing them, particularly in regards to the role of irrigation, debridement and prophylactic antibiotics, are evolving. The authors suggest that injuries can be classified according to the ultimate location of the projectile, the level of contamination, and the type of fracture present. Injuries in which the projectile has no contact with the synovial fluid, with a low level of contamination, and a stable fracture pattern may be treated non-operatively, with antibiotics only. Wounds in which the bullet remains in contact with synovial fluid have a higher level of contamination or have a fracture requiring internal fixation and intravenous antibiotics in combination with more aggressive surgical treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine