When is surgery indicated for the treatment of animal bites?

Updated: Sep 14, 2020
  • Author: Suzanne K Doud Galli, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Laceration injuries can be closed primarily, but avulsion injuries may benefit from delayed treatment. Injuries with significant tissue loss may require local flap treatment, composite grafts, or even vascularized flaps. Debridement of devitalized tissues in the head and neck region must be performed with care.

A study by Gurunluoglu et al indicated that the optimal treatment of facial dog bites requires that level-I trauma centers have a plastic surgery service available. In a study of 75 patients whose facial dog bite injuries who were treated only by a plastic surgery service (with 60 of 98 total wounds being treated by direct repair), the investigators reported that good outcomes were achieved by direct repair and reconstruction of these injuries as early as possible, with a low complication rate and a high rate of patient satisfaction achieved. [5]

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