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Year : 1999  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 93-96

Gunshot wounds of the head and neck region - Our experience

Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu

Correspondence Address:
MD, DDS Chima Oji
P.O. Box 3265 Enugu

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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A review of 12 cases of gunshot wounds treated at the Maxillofacial Unit of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu between January 1990 and December 1997 showed that violence was responsible for 11 cases (91.7%), and only 1 case (8.3%) was due to the accidental discharge of a gun. Out of 12 patients seen, 10 were males and 2 were females, giving a male to female ratio of 5:1, with the age range from 5 to 50 years. Ten (83.3%) of the patients were injured by low velocity missile, and 2 (16.7%) by high velocity missile. Analysis of the injuries sustained showed that 10 (83.3%) patients had soft tissue injuries. Among them, 1 patient had a fracture of the upper right central incisor caused by a pellet and 2 patients sustained injuries to the branches of the facial nerve. Two others had both mandibular fractures and soft tissue injuries. All the patients had initial wound toilet and debridement after resuscitation. The fractures were treated operatively as a secondary procedure. There were satisfactory results in all cases. In view of our experience, we recommend that gunshot wounds should be managed initially by resuscitation of patient, followed by early wound exploriation, debridement and delayed primary closure and not as ordinary surgical wounds irrespective of the type of gun used. Definitive treatment of associated fractures or other associated injuries should be done as a secondary procedure.

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