Which physical findings are characteristic of pediatric oral electrical injuries?

Updated: Mar 09, 2020
  • Author: Tracy A Cushing, MD, MPH, FACEP, FAWM; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Answer

These are most commonly encountered in children younger than 6 years who bite or suck on a household electrical cord. A local arc of current crosses from one side of the mouth to the other. The orbicularis oris muscle may be involved, and cosmetic deformity of the lips may occur if the burn crosses the commissure. Significant edema may be noted and within 2-3 days eschar formation. Life-threatening bleeding can occur at 2-3 weeks post injury if the labial artery is exposed when the eschar falls off. Initial presentations may underestimate the extent of the ultimate injury; patients require aggressive airway management. [15] These patients should be referred for early follow-up to a burn specialist, plastic surgeon, and an oral surgeon.


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