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[Surgical treatment of bites].

OBJECTIVE: Thorough and profound debridement for acute bite injuries while sparing nerves, vessels and tendons.

INDICATIONS: Acute traumatic and late presented bite injuries.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: General contraindication for anesthesia or surgery.

SURGICAL TECHNIQUE: Extensive flabellate local anesthesia/general anesthesia, wound irrigation using 0.9% NaCl or antiseptic solutions, removal of avital tissues, wound debridement, wound edge excision, anew extensive irrigation, drainage if necessary, wound closure where applicable (except older or punctual deep injuries), bandage, elastic wrapping and immobilization. If necessary, plastic surgery with coverage of remaining defects.

POSTOPERATIVE MANAGEMENT: Immobilization with initially daily wound evaluation, removal of drainage/loop on postoperative day 2; if necessary, antibiotic therapy with amoxicillin and clavulanic acid in high-risk wounds (e.g., puncture wounds, joint or bone involvement, extensive soft tissue squeezing), suture removal on day 10-12 after surgery.

RESULTS: Of 142 bite injuries that were treated and retrospectively evaluated, 46% were caused by dogs and 32% by cats. Patients were on average 44 years old; 55% of all dog bites affected women, but 67% of all cat bites. In 48% of the cases, general anesthesia was necessary. The postoperative infection rate was 6.3%.

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