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Immediate surgical management of combat-related injury to the external genitalia
  1. Davendra M Sharma1 and
  2. D M Bowley2
  1. 1Department of Urology, St Georges Hospital NHS Trust and The Genitourinary Working Group (Trauma), Birmingham, UK
  2. 2Department of General and Colorectal Surgery, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM), Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Wing Commander Davendra Sharma, Department of Urology, St George's Hospital NHS Trust and The Genitourinary Working Group (Trauma), Birmingham, UK; dsharma1{at}


Patterns of survivable injury after combat injury have changed during recent years as wounding mechanisms have altered, ballistic protection has improved and the military chain of trauma care has evolved. Combat casualties now survive injuries that would have been fatal in previous wars and service personnel can be left with injuries that have significantly detrimental effects on their quality of life. Severe, destructive injuries to the external genitalia are rarely life-threatening, but can be profoundly life altering and the immediate management of these injuries deserves special scrutiny. The general principles of haemorrhage control, wound debridement, urinary diversion, and organ preservation should be observed. An up-to-date review of the management of these relative rare injuries is based on recent, albeit scanty literature and the experiences of managing casualties in the medical evacuation chain of the United Kingdom Defence Medical Services. The rationale behind the current emphasis on post-injury fertility preservation is also discussed.

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