Renal trauma and retroperitoneal hematomas: indications for exploration

James W Holcroft, D. D. Trunkey, H. Minagi, M. T. Korobkin, R. C. Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


119 patients with renal trauma documented at laparotomy or by an abnormal excretory urogram were followed up sufficiently to allow assessment of their postinjury course. 41 of these patients had a laparotomy and Gerota's fascia was opened; one fourth had a laparotomy and Gerota's fascia was not opened; and one half had no laparotomy. Gerota's fascia was opened only after vascular control of the renal pedicle was obtained. Nonetheless, the loss of renal tissue in this group was high. 23 of 34 patients (68%) required nephrectomy or partial nephrectomy, indicating the severity of their renal injuries. The loss of renal tissue was low in the two groups in which Gerota's fascia was not opened. Six of 85 patients (7%) developed complications eventually requiring nephrectomy or partial nephrectomy; an additional three patients (4%) demonstrated loss of renal tissue on followup urograms, the loss being minimal in all three cases. The relatively low morbidity in these 85 patients indicates that their original renal injuries were, for the most part, less serious than the injuries in the group in which Gerota's fascia was opened. This low morbidity also indicates that retroperitoneal hematomas in the area of the kidney which are nonexpanding, contained, and nonpulsatile need not be routinely explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1045-1052
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Trauma
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1975
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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