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Management of self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the face: retrospective review from a single tertiary care trauma centre

J A Murphy, S R McWilliams, M Lee, G Warburton
British Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery 2018, 56 (3): 173-176
There are limited published data about the surgical management of self-inflicted facial gunshot wounds. The aim of this retrospective study was to review our management of subjects who initially survive such a wound and were admitted to a tertiary care trauma centre between 2002 and 2012. Only subjects with definitive evidence of a self-inflicted facial gunshot wound and who were admitted alive were included. Data collected included personal and clinical details, characteristics of the gunshot wound, and medical and surgical management. Types of operations and their duration were recorded, and primary reconstruction was divided into early (within the first 48hours after presentation) or delayed (longer than 48hours). Determinants of infection were assessed with univariate analysis. Seventy-six subjects (65 male and 11 female, mean (range) age 44 (18-83) years) were included in the study. Twenty-five patients needed an early surgical airway and five needed emergency intervention to control haemorrhage. Forty-five patients had primary reconstructions (28 early and 17 delayed) and 12 who were treated by delayed repair had a submental entry site to the wound. There were no significant differences in infection rates between those who had early, compared with those who had late, reconstructions. Early primary reconstruction can be successful for patients with self-inflicted facial gunshot wounds, particularly when the entry point of the bullet is in the upper and midface area. Delayed primary reconstruction was more common when the bullet entered the lower face.


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