Dog-Bite–Related Craniofacial Fractures among Pediatric Patients: A Case Series and Review of Literature
10 November 2016
09 April 2017
21 July 2017 (eFirst)
Dog bites in the pediatric population commonly cause injuries to the head and can be associated with fractures, often leading to prolonged hospital stays, multiple surgical interventions, and long-term complications. Our goal was to evaluate our experience with dog-bite–related craniofacial fractures, understand frequency and demographics of these fractures, identify common fracture patterns, and provide recommendations based on management and complications encountered. The institution's electronic medical record was reviewed. A review of the English literature for the past 20 years was also conducted. A retrospective chart review was conducted using ICD-9 codes to include all patients with head and neck dog bites and craniofacial fractures. Fractures resulting from canine bites to the face and scalp were rare, occurring in our study in less than 1% of total facial dog bites (1,069 cases) and 1.5% of pediatric facial dog bites (462 cases). Ages ranged from 5 months to 9 years at the time of presentation. A total of seven patients, all pediatric, were documented. All seven patients required operative intervention for their wounds, and five patients required at least two operative interventions. Midface and skull fractures were the most commonly encountered fracture sites. Dog bite injuries to the face in young children, especially when severe, should raise suspicion for fracture of underlying bone. Management of these injuries should include a multidisciplinary approach and focus on repair of soft tissue and skeletal deformities. Furthermore, it is prudent to follow up patients who require operative management after injury to monitor for long-term complications, given the significant proportion of complications and operative takebacks in this study.