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What is polytrauma?

Polytrauma is a patient with multiple injuries.

Polytrauma describes multiple complex injuries of the brain and body typically caused by explosive blasts from car bombs, shells and flying shrapnel. The condition is commonly characterized by multiple head injuries, vision and hearing loss, nerve damage, multiple bone fractures, unhealed body wounds and infections—either of which can be life threatening. Others injuries may include severed limbs or spinal cord damage with the majority of patients experiencing some amount of traumatic brain injury.

The complexity and severity of injuries sustained may also lead to emotional or behavioral challenges. In recent years, more soldiers and service men have been diagnosed with polytrauma as modern advancements have allowed victims of multiple blast wounds to be rescued from battle instead of dying in combat. Now, more soldiers and civilians on foreign soil are surviving massive injuries and can receive the medical care they need after returning home.

Polytrauma is exactly what it sounds like. Poly means many, and trauma essentially means significant injury. So polytrauma is a lot of significant injuries, such as multiple broken bones. Polytrauma is often caused by motor vehicle accidents, or falls from heights such as a fall off a roof.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.