II. Definitions

  1. Morel-Lavallee Lesion
    1. Closed, soft-tissue degloving injury results from high energy Trauma (esp. shearing forces)
    2. Most commonly affects the thigh, hip and Pelvis

III. Background

  1. First described by French physician, Morel-Lavallee in 1863

IV. Precautions

  1. Delayed presentation is common (one third of cases)
  2. Consider in high mechanism Trauma, especially Fractures of the hip, Pelvis and lower extremity

V. Pathophysiology

  1. Stage 1: Hypodermis (Epidermis/Dermis/subcutaneous fat) separates from the underlying deep fascia influenced by shearing forces
  2. Stage 2: Disrupts vessels and Lymphatics which leak into the space above the fascial plane
  3. Stage 3: Creates a cavity filled with hemolymphatic fluid (blood, serous fluid, necrotic fat)
  4. Stage 4: Pseudocapsule forms as a result of chronic inflammation (if untreated)

VI. Causes

  1. High Velocity, Multisystem Trauma (e.g. MVA, Crush Injury, Blunt Trauma)
    1. Pelvis Fractures
    2. Acetabular Fractures (MLL in 8% of cases)
    3. Proximal Femur Fractures
  2. Sport Injury
    1. Direct impact to region (e.g. knee)
  3. Abdominoplasty
  4. Liposuction

VII. Signs: Distribution

  1. Greater trochanter Region or Hip (30% of cases)
  2. Thigh (20% of cases)
  3. Pelvis (18% of cases)
  4. Knee (15% of cases)
  5. Gluteal Region (6%)
  6. Lumbosacral Spine (3%)
  7. Abdominal Wall (1%)
  8. Calf and lower leg (1%)

VIII. Signs: Characteristics

  1. Localized swelling and pain in region of Trauma
  2. Region may be fluctuant and compressible, and skin may be hypermobile over the affected area
  3. Decreased Sensation in the affected region may occur

IX. Imaging

  1. CT of affected region
  2. MRI of affected region
    1. Mellado and Bencardino Classification defines 6 types (e.g. seroma, Type 2 subacute Hematoma...)

X. Management

  1. Consult orthopedic surgery early in course
  2. Various management options depending on multiple factors
    1. Conservative Management with compressive therapy (small lesions)
    2. Percutaneous aspiration or percutaneous drain (small lesions)
    3. Early surgical Debridement

XI. Complications

  1. Skin Necrosis
    1. Exposes underlying tissues
  2. Infection
    1. Lesions are colonized in 46% of cases
    2. Increases risk of perioperative infection (esp. orthopedic procedures)
  3. Pseudocyst
  4. Poor Cosmetic result

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