Many people are not familiar with degloving injuries. These typically serious injuries can result from car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other types of accidents, such as those in the workplace involving heavy machinery.
While degloving injuries are often readily apparent, these injuries can sometimes be difficult to detect. If you have been in an accident, it is essential to learn the common symptoms of a degloving injury and what you should do if you suffer one.
What Is a Degloving Injury?
Degloving occurs when the top layers of skin and tissue are torn away from the muscle, bone, or tissue underneath. They are commonly found in the leg area and often occur in the event of a fracture. Due to the amount of blood loss and tissue death, degloving injuries can, unfortunately, be fatal.
What Causes a Degloving Injury?
Most degloving injuries involve the use of large machinery and industrial equipment.
However, there are other scenarios that can lead to degloving, including:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Sports accidents
- Construction accidents
- Animal bites
- Falls from high places
A degloving injury usually occurs in scenarios where there is fast movement in two or more directions. It is most often seen in motor vehicle accidents and accidents involving heavy machinery. Due to the high velocity involved in these accidents, there are a variety of different degloving injuries that can result.
What Are the Different Types of Degloving Injuries?
There are two types of degloving injuries: open and closed.
The most common type of degloving injury is known as “open degloving.” This is where the skin is torn from the underlying bone, muscle, or tissue. In certain instances of open degloving, it is not uncommon for a flap of skin to hang next to the open wound.
While open degloving is indicated by a visible wound, you can also experience a degloving injury that takes place completely under the skin. Known as “closed degloving,” this type of injury occurs when the visibly unscathed top layer of skin is separated from the muscle or tissue underneath.
Closed degloving most commonly occurs in these places:
- Lower spine
- The upper portion of the hip bones
- Shoulder blades
Whether open or closed, both types of degloving are serious injuries.
How Is a Degloving Injury Diagnosed?
One of the most difficult realities of treating a degloving injury is identifying how extensive the injury is. Unlike general cuts and abrasions, a simple look at the injury doesn’t give much of an indication as to how extensive it is. Similarly, the viability of skin cannot be determined only by the skin’s appearance.
Open degloving injuries are typically easier to diagnose, as the visible muscle and torn skin give healthcare professionals greater visual access to the injury. On the other hand, closed degloving injuries are more elusive because it may not be immediately evident that the skin has become disconnected.
How Is Closed Degloving Detected?
Since they are not immediately visible, you need to be vigilant if you suspect you or a loved one has sustained a closed degloving injury. Signs to watch out for include bruising, swelling, and pain. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms in the affected area, contact your doctor immediately.
How Is a Degloving Injury Treated?
As with the majority of wound treatments, successfully treating a degloving injury depends on the severity and location of the injury. Another crucial factor is whether the afflicted person has any broken bones. Once the injury is identified and confirmed, the hospital may need to perform skin repair.
Skin repair is a specialized operation, meaning not all hospitals have the resources to carry it out successfully. Consequently, treating a degloving injury may require transfer to another location for surgery. Additionally, potential treatments for open and closed degloving injuries are different.
Treatments for Open Degloving Injuries
Treatment for open degloving injuries differs according to the location and extent of the injury. More serious injuries require more extensive remedies.
Potential treatments include all of the following:
- Reattachment of skin
- Reattachment of lost toes or fingers
- Necrotic tissue debridement
- Skin graft placement
Unfortunately, an amputation may be warranted if the injury is severe enough. However, the alternative would mean a more extensive injury, up to and including loss of life.
Treatments for Closed Degloving Injuries
Closed degloving injuries can be parsed into two primary categories: serious and less serious. For less serious injuries, the doctor will likely recommend compression alongside physical therapy. This usually gives the injury time to heal.
For serious closed degloving injuries, the doctor may need to remove dead tissue and drain the wound. If the patient’s blood vessels have become enlarged, the doctor may need to administer injections in order to shrink them.
Other Important Facts About Degloving Injuries
Degloving injuries can also happen when a portion of the body is lodged in place and another part of the body is pulled away. The action that causes the degloving doesn’t have to be dramatic — it can be as simple as pulling a ring off of your finger.
If you sustain any degloving injury and seek medical treatment, you will likely be administered antibiotics and IV fluids. In this situation, it is important to follow all instructions given by medical personnel, as it could save your life.
Contact a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer for Help Pursuing Compensation for Your Degloving Injury
If you or a loved one has been in an accident, you don’t have to deal with the resulting injuries and financial hardships alone. Having a qualified attorney on your side can make all the difference in ensuring those responsible for your injuries are held accountable.
As leading Tampa personal injury attorneys, the dedicated team at Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers has recovered over $400 million for clients in Tampa. We will fight aggressively to protect your rights and secure the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call us at (813) 223-6200 today for a free consultation.