Dog Bite Surgery

There are several types of surgery that may be needed after a dog attack. If underlying structures such as tendons, bones, or muscle were punctured or damaged by the dog bite, surgery may be necessary to restore normal function. If certain types of infection set into the dog bite wound, surgery may be necessary so that the bite can heal properly. In most cases, though, surgery is done to reconstruct features that have been disfigured by the dog bite.

Reconstructive Dog Bite Surgery

Reconstructive surgery, also called restorative surgery, is done to lessen the appearance of the dog bite scar. The surgery is sometimes done shortly after the incident that caused the wound, and other times a waiting period is recommended. The physicians that will be performing the surgery must weigh the risks and benefits, as closing up the wound too soon after the dog bite can greatly increase the chance of infection. If the dog bite is on the face or neck, the physician may decide to close up the wound despite risks.

Reconstructive Surgery Benefits

Reconstructive dog bite surgery can help to ease the trauma that a dog attack may cause. Victims of dog attacks often experience psychological turmoil after being disfigured in a dog attack, and may develop emotional disorders. Having plastic surgeons restore the victim’s appearance can remove the constant reminder of the occurrence and assist with emotional and psychological recovery. Skin grafts and flap surgery may help to replace skin that has been torn or damaged.

Dog Bite Surgery for Infection

It is rare that surgery is necessary to treat an infection caused by a dog bite. In most cases, antibiotics will help to prevent and treat infections. Surgery is only needed if the patient develops cellulitis or if an abscess forms in an extremity. In these situations, general surgery is done to remove dead tissue, and then an antibiotic is administered. In cases where excessive dead skin is removed, skin grafts may be used.

Dog Bite Surgery to Restore Function

When a dog bite injury is on the face, surgery to restore function to the eyes, nose, and mouth is often done as part of the reconstructive surgery. Physicians will carefully reconnect nerves before restoring skin. Depending on the area of the body that has been injured and the extent of the damage, different types of specialists may be required to restore function or repair tissues and other structures. Hand surgeons may repair damage to the hands; tendon specialists may help restore tendon function and replace severed tendons; knee replacement surgery may be necessary if the knee has been crushed. Dog bites are most often to the face or hands, but can affect any area of the body.

 

 

Sources:

“Dog Bite Prevention.” American Veterinary Medical Association. American Veterinary Medical Association, n.d. Web. 18 Jan 2014. <https://www.avma.org/public/pages/Dog-Bite-Prevention.asp&xgt;.

“Dog Bites.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 Sep 2013. Web. 18 Jan 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/dog-bites/index.html>.

N, Akhtar, MJ Smith, et al. “Surgical delay in the management of dog bite injuries in children, does it increase the risk of infection?.” PubMed.gov. 59.1 (2006): 80-85. Web. 18 Jan. 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16482793>.