(WUSA9)-- The injuries caused by the bombs detonated at the Boston marathon are described as horrific; more than 150 people wounded and many amputations as a result.
The bombings presented challenges to trauma surgeons normally seen on a battlefield, with wounds similar to those caused by improvised explosive devices, or IED's.
Dr. George Velmahos, M.D., Chief Trauma Service, Mass. General Hospital, described some of the destructive elements, "Small metallic fragments that entered their bodies, pellets, shrapnel, nails that these bombs had."
Dr. David Moss is now an orthopedic surgeon at Sibley Memorial hospital. But he was training in New York City during 9-11 and cared for many victims of 'blast wave injuries'.
Dr. Moss says this "can involve chest wounds, head wounds, and then psychiatric trauma."
Dr. Moss says the sheer force of the blast can rip away tissue in those closest to the blast; the carnage is described as 'de-gloving.'
Dr. Moss describes the damage. "The bone itself is fractured, the muscles are damaged, the arteries and the nerves can be ripped, torn, destroyed."
"Since it's a blast injury and it's a more traumatic amputation for a person to have," says Erin King, a prosthetist at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital/NASCOTT.
King previously worked with war veterans at Walter Reed, and says the trauma of losing a limb can be overcome by talking to mental health professionals or other amputees, and the customized prosthetics available today make returning to an active lifestyle possible for many of the bombing victims in Boston.
King says, "People can know this is not the end-all be-all, just because this has happened to you. You are still able to return to your normal sense of life... You have people who can run, who can skateboard , waterski, rollerblade, all these different things."