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April 1943


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, the Graduate School, and the Research and Educational Hospital, University of Illinois College of Medicine.

Arch Surg. 1943;46(4):469-479. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1943.01220100013003

In 1900 Sudeck described puzzling vasomotor phenomena following comparatively mild injuries occurring mainly at the wrist or ankle.1 Since his original communication, a variety of terms have been employed to characterize the same syndrome, such as traumatic angiospasm, chronic traumatic edema, acute atrophy of bone, post-traumatic osteoporosis, peripheral trophoneurosis and reflex nervous dystrophy. One of us summarized the literature and added a few cases in a previous communication.2 Obviously, previous authors have focused their attention on different manifestations of the same syndrome as it affects the bone, the blood vessels or the skin. While Sudeck's name is rightfully associated with this condition, he himself preferred to omit his name in subsequent communications3; atrophy is not a typical feature of the disease in its early stages.

In this report we wish to give a brief summary of our observations on this vaguely understood and frequently unrecognized syndrome. Thirty-three

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