Reconstruction of animal bite injuries to the head and neck

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose of reviewThe aim if this review is to provide an update on the existing literature of animal bite treatment strategies and provide a systematic approach to animal bites from presentation to reconstruction.Recent findingsDog bites cause 80-90% of animal bites with 26.8-56.5% occurring in the head and neck. Infection rates may be as low as 5.7-9.7%. Primary closure alone is sufficient in 69.8% of dog bites within the first 24 h.SummaryAnimal bite injuries to the head and neck are common, especially in the younger population. Dogs cause a majority of these bite injuries. Injuries can include simple lacerations or punctures, avulsions with tissue present, or avulsions with loss of tissue. The most common locations are the cheek, nose, and lips. It is important to gather the vaccination status of the animal and patient and to administer tetanus/rabies prophylaxis if indicated. Antibiotics are typically prescribed for 3-5 and 7-14 days for uninfected and infected wounds, respectively. These wounds require evaluation, irrigation, and occasionally debridement or repair in the operating room. The type of repair is determined based on the location and extent of injury and can range from primary closure to microsurgical replantation, skin grafts, flaps, or even facial transplantation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-412
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • animal bites
  • dog bites
  • facial reconstruction
  • facial trauma
  • head and neck reconstruction


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