The ubiquitous nature of penetrating wounds of the neck has been emphasized in numerous previous studies.1-26 Few surgeons, civilian or military, personally see enough such injuries to become expert in their management. The problem is compounded by the apparent benignity of many such wounds upon initial examination, and the lethal nature of complications if the original care is inadequate. It seems profitable, therefore, to review a simultaneous military and civilian experience with 75 penetrating wounds of the neck, in order to record the principles in the early treatment of such potentially lethal injuries.
Military Experience.—Between July 1 and Dec 1, 1968, 62 patients with penetrating injuries of the neck were admitted to the US Naval Support Activity Hospital in DaNang, Republic of Vietnam. All but four of these casualties were US marines wounded 30 to 90 minutes prior to being admitted by helicopter to this well-equipped