Volumetric muscle loss leads to permanent disability following extremity trauma

Benjamin T. Corona, Jessica C. Rivera, Johnny G. Owens, Joseph C. Wenke, Christopher R. Rathbone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


Extremity injuries comprise the majority of battlefield injuries and contribute the most to long-term disability of servicemembers. The purpose of this study was to better define the contribution of muscle deficits and volumetric muscle loss (VML) to the designation of long-term disability in order to better understand their effect on outcomes for limb-salvage patients. Medically retired servicemembers who sustained a combat-related type III open tibia fracture (Orthopedic cohort) were reviewed for results of their medical evaluation leading to discharge from military service. A cohort of battlefield-injured servicemembers (including those with nonorthopedic injuries) who were medically retired because of various injuries (General cohort) was also examined. Muscle conditions accounted for 65% of the disability of patients in the Orthopedic cohort. Among the General cohort, 92% of the muscle conditions were identified as VML. VML is a condition that contributes significantly to long-term disability, and the development of therapies addressing VML has the potential to fill a significant void in orthopedic care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)785-792
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Battlefield
  • Disability
  • Extremity
  • Function
  • Injury
  • Limb
  • Regeneration
  • Skeletal muscle
  • Soft tissue
  • Soldier
  • Volumetric muscle loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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