JOURNAL ARTICLE

Hydrofluoric acid burns of the hand: mechanism of injury and treatment

W J Anderson, J R Anderson
Journal of Hand Surgery 1988, 13 (1): 52-7
3351229
Hydrofluoric acid is one of the strongest inorganic acids and is used extensively in industry and research. It differs from other acids in that the fluoride ion readily penetrates the skin, causing destruction of deep tissue layers and even bone. Authors have previously described numerous topical treatments. This report describes one method of treatment emphasizing immediate skin cleansing and the application of calcium gluconate gel, which is followed by calcium gluconate subcutaneous injections when necessary. An accurate occupational history and physical examination are important aspects of patient assessment. Prompt treatment resulted in relief of pain and a satisfactory clinical result in all cases. A significant delay in treatment was responsible for permanent impairment in 2 of 14 patients.

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