Early Coverage of Upper Extremity Electrical Injury Wounds




Background: An appropriate and well-timed surgery has great impact on a patient’s treatment and can prevent further damage to partially injured structures which if untreated will be lost leading to severe disability. In the present study we report our experience with early coverage of electrically injured upper extremity vital structures with encouraging results. Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the results of early flap coverage (less than two weeks) after electrical injury in the induced wounds of upper extremity. Materials and Methods: The records of electrically injured patients referred during a 10- year period to Firuzgar Medical Center were evaluated. After one or two sessions of debridement, the wounds were covered by distant or pedicled flaps and the results were evaluated according to the number of surgeries, complications and return to work time. Results: Thirty patients were registered in this study, mean age at the time of injury was 26.43 (SD = 10.41) years; 40% of patients had right upper extremity injury, 23.3% had left and 36.7% had bilateral injury. 43.4% of patients had no complications, amputation rate was 23.3% and nerve injury was seen in 13.3% of patients. Mean days of return to work was 132.57 (SD = 64.99). In 11 patients distant flaps were used, 9 patients with graft only and 7 patients had a combination of graft and regional flaps.The dominant hand involvement in electrical injury is very high. Conclusions: We suggest that the routine treatment protocols of serial debridement until all the wound acquires a bed of granulation tissue should be revised, because the vital structures such as tendons and nerves will have undergone dessication necrosis and a young worker will be crippled for life. Early coverage of partially injured vital structures is gaining acceptance and this paper confirms the above mentioned treatment protocol.