By Sterling Medical Staff:
The recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have produced a large increase in shrapnel injuries among our soldiers overseas. However, the military is working to combat this trend by training its physicians in a breakthrough surgical technique created by an Ohio radiologist.
Dr. William E. Shiels II of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH is the creator of a surgical technique known as ultrasound guided foreign body removal, or USFBR. While traditional methods of x-ray imaging are effective in locating metallic shrapnel, it is less adept at identifying wood, plastic, gravel, and other nontraditional materials commonly found in Improvised Explosive Devices (I.E.D.s). USFBR has thus far proven extremely effective in locating both metallic and non-metallic embedded objects. More accurate screening procedures ultimately lead to safer and more effective surgery.
So far, military doctors have relied exclusively on traditional x-ray techniques to identify embedded objects. Because these techniques are less accurate and often do not pick up non-metallic objects, more invasive, open surgery is often required for their removal. Using USFBR, surgeons can easily and accurately locate fragments, leading to less invasive surgery. According to its creators, USFBR “guides minimally invasive removal, often only requiring a .25 inch incision with little or no scarring or cosmetic deformity.”1
William Shiels, DO is the chief of Nationwide Children’s Department of Radiology, as well as president of Children’s Radiological Institute, Inc. Dr. Shiels initially developed the technique at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where he and his team of interventional radiologists continued to make improvements. To date, Dr. Shiels and his team have successfully utilized USFBR to remove foreign objects from over 800 patients.
Dr. Shiels and his team are now in the midst of adapting the procedure for use by the military. Along with his team of civilian and military radiologists, Dr. Shiels is currently engaged in training 48 military physicians at four military treatment facilities across the United States. This training initiative is funded in part by a $1 million research grant awarded through the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command.
Both the military and Dr. Shiels are optimistic about the potential for USFBR in treating wounded soldiers. Dr. Shiels espoused gratification at the opportunity to provide care for wounded service members, stating: “our hope is that USFBR will become part of the standard of care for war-related foreign body removal.”1