A pneumatic tourniquet can generally be described as an item designed to control blood pressure during limb surgery and specifically to provide a bloodless field for surgical procedures. The earliest documented usage dates back to 199 BCE where Romans used it to manage bleeding…
s shown less drastically adverse results with working in conditions of limited blood loss being the most obvious benefit but with numerous disadvantages (Tang, Olesnicky & Heiskell 2013, p. 32). On the other hand, modern day knee surgery, employing pneumatic tourniquets in more than one million surgical cases in North America alone per year, is prone to risks presented by intra-operative and post-operative complications as well as operation-specific complications. Several studies have identified the pneumatic tourniquet as a significant factor for the increased risk of complications with regards to knee surgery (Krushell & Fingeroth 2007, p. 78). Although there are some advantages such as confining anaesthetics to an extremity, the most common risks are in the form of nerve injury, post-tourniquet syndrome, blood clots, infections and osteolysis (Walsh 2006, p. 711). Because of the risks that patients are exposed to during the use of pneumatic tourniquets in knee surgery, this paper will argue in support that pneumatic tourniquets are not necessary for optimum benefits from knee surgery by discussing their complications.
The use of tourniquets, even the older, non-pneumatic versions, has been riddled with complications, sometimes fatal ones (Shemshaki, Laripiur & Jalalian 2010, p 683). Pneumatic tourniquets are used in knee surgery to primarily occlude the flow of blood in an extremity so as to establish a bloodless field in which surgery may be conducted. However, their increased use is also accompanied by the growing risk of incidents related to complications with pronounced physiological changes such as the base-acid imbalance caused by the application of pneumatic tourniquets and may result in pulmonary oedema. The physiological changes also induce transendothelial movement of polymorphonuclears. Most of the injuries that result from the application of pneumatic tourniquets are often pressure-related but may also be consequences of prolonged tourniquet time ...
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