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A Journal on Surgery

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Chirurgia 2014 August;27(4):249-51

language: English

Cerebral fat embolism syndrome following unilateral total knee arthroplasty: a case report

Erdoğan M. 1, Desteli E. 2, Aslan K. 3, Cirakli A. 1

1 Department of Orthopedics, Ondokuz Mayis University, Samsun, Turkey;
2 Department of Orthopedics, Uskudar State Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey;
3 Department of Radiology, Ondokuz Mayis University, Samsun, Turkey


Fat embolism syndrome is a rarely-seen complication following orthopedic surgery. It is a systemic inflammatory reaction that occurs due to emerge of fat globules from damaged bone matrix into systemic circulation during or after interventional surgical procedures. The case presented here is of cerebral fat embolism which developed in the 8th postoperative hour following unilateral total knee arthroplasty where the patient was represented with solely neurological symptoms. Fat embolism syndrome with isolated cerebral system involvement, as in the case presented here, is extremely rare. When there is sudden onset of changes in consciousness level following major orthopedic surgical intervention, cerebral fat embolism syndrome should be suspected. To prevent the onset of the disease evaluation of the risk factors and to take precautions is essential. In addition, multidiciplinary approach including anesthesicians, neurologists and orthopedicians is needed for effective treatment.

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