JOI Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute

Dr. Steinberg Press Release

Compartment syndrome can develop quickly in the limbs of patients with broken bones or crush-type injuries. The pressure of the swelling within the muscle compartment can increase enough to cut off the blood supply. Tissue death can occur within just six hours. The patient may permanently lose muscle function and even require amputation. Bruce Steinberg, MD, orthopaedic surgeon with Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute, has spent the last 20 years developing an innovative tool to help physicians, nurses
and other medical personnel quickly screen whether a patient may have dangerous pressure elevation. The goal is to detect the rising pressure early enough to open the compartment and preserve the patient’s tissue. “In orthopaedics, compartment syndrome is a devastating problem if not detected and treated promptly,” Dr. Steinberg said.

Dr. Steinberg JOI REHAB
Dr. Bruce Steinberg

Physicians currently have two methods to make a diagnosis. They feel the area to determine its hardness (the area may feel swollen and tight, like it’s going to explode).The other method is a painful invasive test that involves placing a needle in the muscle compartment. Dr. Steinberg created and patented a noninvasive tool in which a spring-loaded plate is fitted around a 4-mm metal probe. The probe palpates against the muscle. The force of the pressure pushes the metal plate away, allowing a measurement of the muscle hardness. “It gives a quantitative measurement of palpation, from soft as a pillow to hard as a rock,” Dr. Steinberg said. The device is now in the testing stage. University of Florida (UF) residents used the device, along with other existing tools, to evaluate compartment syndrome in patients. Presentations on the data of its usefulness has been at three national meetings.

Scientific Paper Collaboration with UF

Most recently, Dr. Steinberg co-authored a paper about research on the device in collaboration with UF residents. This was under the direction of orthopaedic surgeon Hudson Berry, MD. The research was published by the peer reviewed international journal, Physiological Measurement, titled “Quantitative Muscle Hardness as a Noninvasive Means for Detecting Patients at Risk for Compartment Syndromes.” (April 2011, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp 433-434). A large clinical trial is now underway testing multi-trauma patients at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

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