Injuries causing major loss of scalp

T C Feierabend, R N Bindra
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 1985, 76 (2): 189-94
Long hair worn by both sexes in a majority of the rural population of Punjab (India) increases the hazard of descalping injuries. Forty-six cases seen over a period of 10 years are reported. Agricultural machinery accounted for 83 percent of these injuries. Males were most commonly involved (63 percent), and 48 percent of the patients were minors. Nearly all cases reported had at least half the scalp avulsed, 56.5 percent being total scalp avulsions, with bare bone exposed in 48 percent of the total. The method of chiseling the outer portion of the exposed bone down to bleeding points and immediately applying a split-thickness skin graft is presented as the procedure of choice for wound closure. This reduced the average hospitalization period by 49 percent as compared with older methods. Follow-up of 67 percent of patients has revealed a surprising instability of the grafted skin, with an ultimate danger of malignant degeneration.

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