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The Thomas Splint – A Necessary Tool In The Management Of Battlefield Injuries
  1. Capt TK Rowlands, MB BCh BSc RAMC, SHO Trauma and Orthopaedics1 and
  2. Lt Col J Clasper, DPhil DM FRCSEd (Orth) RAMC(V), Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedics2
  1. 133 Field Hospital, Op TELIC.
  2. 2202 Field Hospital, Op TELIC.


The Thomas splint was developed for the stabilisation of femoral fractures at the end of the nineteenth century, and since the First World War has been extensively used by the British Army. It has been shown to improve the outcome after ballistic fractures of the femur, but recently there have been moves to abandon this device in favour of more modern splints such as the Sager splint©. This is predominately due to the ease of use and smaller size of newer devices, which makes them more suitable for the pre-hospital environment.

However, we present our experience of managing both ballistic and closed femoral injuries using Thomas splints during the recent Gulf Conflict. It is our belief that the Thomas splint is an essential tool in the management of military femoral injuries at role three facilities and must be retained.

  • Thomas splint
  • military trauma
  • femoral fracture
  • traction
  • field hospital

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