Written by attorney Christopher Michael Davis

Facial Reconstruction Surgery After A Dog Bite

Dog bites are contaminatd wounds and convention dictates that any surgical treatment should be performed at the earliest opportunity. Quick treatment of dog bite injuries to the face can also help reduce the potential for permanent facial injuries and disfigurement. However, a Indiana University Health North Hospital study revealed that “regardless of the severity of the trauma, most dog bite injuries result in permanent scars, and secondary revision surgery is frequently needed."

Otolaryngologists and facial plastic surgeons that specialize in facial reconstruction surgery are finding that more and more of their patients are victims of serious dog bite injuries to the face. Doctors are reporting an alarming increase in the number of injuries from pit bull attacks. Treating severe dog bite injuries to the face can be a challenge. Treatment may require plastic surgery techniques can involve everything from traditional sutures to state-of-the-art laser resurfacing.

Surgeons use equal parts art and science in the repair and reconstruction of dog bite injuries. Rebuilding a nose may require surgeons to use cartilage from different sources to rebuild some of the structural support--rib cartilage and ear cartilage can be used to rebuild the strength in the nose. Expanders may be used to stretch and reshape skin.


Regardless of getting quick medical attention and quality surgical care, more than three-fourths of dog bite cases involving children require additional “scar revision" surgery in an attempt to improve the overall aesthetic results. A quarter of patients require a second or third revision surgery to get the best possible results.


Half of the dog bite injuries nationwide that require treatment in a hospital are to adults but children suffer equally and their injuries are often more severe. Serious child injuries due to vicious dog attacks increase every summer.

According to a study conducted by pediatric otolaryngologists from the University at Buffalo's School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences young children are especially vulnerable to severe dog bites in the head and neck areas. One-third of the bites occurred on the cheeks, 21 percent on the lips, and eight percent each on the nose and ears, results showed.

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