Tourniquet pain in upper thigh

Josephine

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Tourniquet pain is a consequence of lower limb surgery that is not much talked about. It's a pain that occurs in the upper thigh because of the tourniquet the surgeon uses to both restrict blood loss and make the surgical field bloodless so he can carry out the procedure with greater accuracy and speed.

The tourniquet is usually pumped up to around four times the patient's blood pressure - 350mg/Hg for an adult leg. If this is maintained for a couple of hours, the patient may experience a burning pain for some hours or even days after the surgery. It can range from a slightly bruised feeling to an intense burning pain which restricts movement and makes if difficult to do straight leg raises and walking.

tourniquet pain 2.jpg
tourniquet aa.jpg

During this period, it's best if the patient avoids doing things that require use of the quads muscle and uses a strap or leg lifter to help move the leg around, on and off the bed, for example.

leg lifter.jpg

It seems only a small percentage of people suffer from this which on average lasts up to 10 days after which it will often disappear quite suddenly!

Having tourniquet pain is not generally the result of any serious damage to nerves or blood supply in any way and there is usually no lasting after effects. However, in rare cases, some long lasting pain or even nerve damage has been recorded.
 
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