Mutilating Hand Injuries
(Hand Trauma; Hand Injury)
A mutilating hand injury is severe damage to the hand. It will make it hard or impossible to use the hand. There may be damage to bones, tendons, tissues, nerves, and skin.
Care is needed right away. It can be deadly.
This problem may be caused by:
- Industrial accidents from machines and power tools
- Crushing accidents
- Chemical exposure
- Car accidents
- Farming injuries
Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
- Jobs that require using dangerous machines
- Removing safety guards from machinery, such as power saws or wood chippers
- Short-cuts and poor technique while using machines
- Not shutting off power to a tool when using hands to work on it
- Operating machinery or vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Hand injuries are visible. Common problems are:
- Ripped skin
- Skin loss
- Open wounds
- Excessive bleeding
- Exposed bone or tendons
- Amputation of the hand or fingers
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The doctor will examine the injury. Medicine may be given to block pain during the exam. Nerves and tendons of the hand will be tested.
Images will be taken to look for damage to the bones, nerves, tendons, and skin. This can be done with:
Emergency care will be needed. An IV will be started to give fluids and pain medicine.
The goals of treatment are to:
- Stop bleeding
- Manage pain
- Repair damage to the hand
Ways to do this include:
To lower the risk of this problem:
- Do not use machinery that is unfamiliar.
- Follow all safety instructions when using tools or machinery. Be especially careful when using snow blowers and lawn mowers.
- Do not put fingers or hands near moving parts of machinery.
- Fingertips injuries and amputations. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/fingertip-injuries-and-amputations.
- Mallet finger. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/mallet-finger.
- Snowblower safety. Hand Care—American Society for Surgery of the Hand website. Available at: https://www.assh.org/handcare/safety/snow-blower.
- James Cornell, MD
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