New Book Addresses Combat Challenges in Iraq and Afghanistan Conflicts

The need for a textbook specific to the injuries that orthopedic
surgeons encounter in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict has been fulfilled in
the new 352-page book, Combat Orthopedic Surgery: Lessons Learned in Iraq
and Afghanistan
, edited by Brett D. Owens, MD, MC USA, and Philip J.
Belmont Jr., MD, MC USA, published in February by Slack Books, Thorofare, N.J.,
according to the editors.

SLACK Incorporated is the parent company of both Slack Books and
O&P Business News.

  Combat Orthopedic Surgery details the encounters of orthopedic surgeons in the Iraq and Afaghanistan conflicts.
  Combat Orthopedic Surgery details
the encounters of orthopedic surgeons in the Iraq and Afaghanistan
  Image: SLACK Inc.

The editors explained that John A. Feagin, MD, who was involved in
editing a similar textbook on the Vietnam war, provided them with the idea for
this new publication in 2009.

“Clearly the need for a comprehensive text concerning orthopedic
combat-related injuries sustained by U.S. military service members in Iraq and
Afghanistan has been widely recognized by military orthopedic surgeons,”
Owens and Belmont said.

To ensure all the key topics were covered in-depth in their book, the
editors tapped the real experts — physicians from various branches of the
military — to write the chapters in the five sections of the book:
Principles, Advancements, Upper Extremity, Lower Extremity and Spine/Pelvis.

“The authors were selected because they have been active
academically in documenting their surgical, medical and rehabilitative
experience. When significant gaps existed within the peer-reviewed literature,
we called upon the subject matter experts who have been most involved in
treating these combat musculoskeletal injuries. All of the senior authors of
these chapters have been deployed to combat during the course of these
wars,” Owens and Belmont said.

According to the editors, there is no single stand-out lesson in the
book “except that improvements in body and vehicular armor have allowed
patients to survive increasingly complex and traumatic injuries that are most
commonly caused by explosive mechanisms.

“We aspire to provide surgeons access to the latest research and
treatment options to provide optimal care for those service members of our
all-volunteer force who become combat casualties.”

Owens and Belmont noted those familiar with the manuscript were
impressed with the assembly of the knowledge leaders who comprise their panel
of authors. Since many readers will undoubtedly not be familiar with military
medicine, they included historical and organizational background information in
the book to help orient readers to this topic. — by Susan M. Rapp

For more information:

  • Owens B, Belmont PJ. Combat Orthopedic Surgery: Lessons
    Learned in Iraq and Afghanistan
    . Thorofare, N.J.: Slack Incorporated;


Combat casualties persist. As Hippocrates noted, “War is the only
proper school for the surgeon,” and a review of the art and science of
casualty care and lessons learned after more than 8 years of combat in Iraq and
Afghanistan is appropriate. The authors are to be congratulated for their
vision, experience and meaningful contributions.

As a contributor to Surgery in Vietnam published by the
Office of the Surgeon General and Center of Military History, United States
Army, Washington, D.C., 1994, I have looked forward to this work to compare
with our work and other publications, such as The NATO Handbook
and previous publications from Korea and World War II.

The comparison is significant. Combat casualty care is now a recognized
discipline with a core curriculum. This is a major scientific advance from the
anecdotal contributions of yesteryear.

I applaud the authors for their lasting and significant contribution to
this conflict, to the scientific care of the combat casualty and to the
training of those who follow.

— John A. Feagin, Col. (ret), MD
Colo. For more information: Geist ES. JAMA.

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