Philadelphia, Pa. (April 22, 2013) - Dog bites to the face are a relatively common injury in young children, and often require repeated plastic surgery procedures to deal with persistent scarring, according to a report in the March Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.
In the study, Dr. Barry L. Eppley of Indiana University Health North Hospital, Carmel, and Dr. Arno Rene Schelich of Hans Privatklinikum, Graz, Austria, review a ten-year experience of the common dog bites of the face in children. "[R]egardless of the severity of the trauma, most dog bite injuries result in permanent scars, and secondary revision surgery is frequently needed," the researchers write.
Dog Bites in ChildrenPatient Characteristics
From 1995 to 2005, Dr. Eppley treated 105 children with dog bits of the face, scalp, and neck. The children's average age was about six yearsthe youngest was 6 weeks and the oldest 11.5 years. In contrast to previous studies showing that most dog bites occur in boys, Dr. Eppley's patients were about equally divided between girls and boys.
In 95 percent of cases, the dog was known to the patient and familybelonging either to the family or to a friend, neighbor, etc. When the breed was known, the most common was Pit Bull, followed by Chow, German Shepherd, and Doberman Pinscher. Most of the bites were classified as "provoked," occurring when the child was playing with, petting, or otherwise interacting with the dog.
In 90 percent of children, the bites caused a combination of crush, laceration, and shear injuries. However, in most cases the wound could simply be closed (ie, with stitch
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