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Human Bites

What are human bites?

Human bites are more common than one might assume, and actually include two different types of injuries.


What causes Human Bites?

What are referred to in medicine as human bites can actually be two distinct types of injuries: Occlusive bites and Clenched-fist injuries.  Occlusive bites refer to what one may first think of when the term “human bite” is used; that is to say, when the open mouth contacts the skin and the teeth come together with sufficient force to break the flesh and cause bleeding. Clenched fist injuries occur when a person strikes sharp edges of someone else’s teeth with the knuckles or fist, causing a wound on their own hand (it can also refer to injuries caused by accidental contact between teeth and other body parts, such as knees or elbows). It is actually these clenched fist injuries that are the most dangerous, because in some cases the bacteria introduced by the mouth can travel up and down the tendons in the hand, spreading the infection.


What are symptoms of Human Bites?

Human bites are some of the most deceptive of injuries, because although people tend to assume that they are relatively harmless, they may actually cause more damage, and carry a greater risk of infection, than animal bites. It is important that you see a doctor as soon as possible to have your wound treated, or an infection could develop, which may have debilitating consequences for your hand.


How to diagnose a Human Bite.

A human bite is a distinctive injury, but it is important for the doctor to run tests on the injury to determine if there have been any bacterial transmissions that could prove detrimental to your health. Human saliva carries many very dangerous bacteria and it is important to counteract their effects or infections such as cellulites or tetanus could develop. Hepatitis B is also a very real concern, and the literature varies on whether or not HIV can be transmitted through this type of contact.


Treatment Options

Non-surgical treatment of Human Bites.

Human bites should be treated more or less like animal bites in that they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water before the application of an antibiotic cream. As soon as possible, it is important to see a doctor about any wounds that develop, because the bacterial flora in the human mouth can cause a lot of infectious damage if left untreated.

Surgical treatment of Human Bites.

It is very likely that a human bite left untreated will require surgical intervention, especially those of the clenched fist type. Even if the injury is a small laceration on the knuckle, it is important to have a doctor see it as soon as possible, and it will likely need to be opened surgically so that the wound can be adequately irrigated and washed out. There is also a risk that a piece of tooth can become stuck in the wound, so it is important to make sure and remove that. Because of the highly infective nature of these wounds, it is possible that the doctor will want to keep the wound open as it heals, rather than suturing it like a normal wound.


How can Dr. Knight help you with Human Bites?

Human bites can present a very real danger to the patient, and Dr. Knight takes these injuries very seriously. He understands the risks of infection and complication in these delicate injuries, and will do everything in his power as surgeon to clear the hand of infection and regain full use of the appendage for the patient.


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HandAndWristInstitute.com does not offer medical advice. The information presented here is offered for informational purposes only. Read Disclaimer