Mammalian Bite Injuries to the Hand and Their Management

Shilpa Jha 1, Wasim S Khan 2, Nashat A Siddiqui*, 1
1 Department of Trauma & Orthopaedics, Kingston Hospital NHS Trust, Kingston, London, UK
2 University College London Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Sciences, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, London, UK

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© Jha et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Trauma & Orthopaedics, Kingston Hospital NHS Trust, Kingston, London, UK; Tel: +44 (0) 20 8546 7711; Fax: +44 (0) 20 8546 7712; E-mail:


Bite wounds are a common form of hand injury with the potential to lead to severe local and systemic sequelae and permanent functional impairment. Mammalian bite wounds may be caused by a variety of animal class and species; injuries resulting from dogs, cats and humans are the most widely discussed and reported in the literature. Bite wounds may be contaminated with aggressive pathogens and the anatomical vulnerability of structures within the hand means that without early recognition and treatment with irrigation and antibiotics, alongside a low index of suspicion for deep structural involvement requiring formal surgical exploration and washout, the consequences of such injuries can be disastrous. We review the literature and discuss the epidemiology, pathophysiology and microbiology relating to these injuries, as well as clinical aspects including signs, symptoms, and management.

Keywords: Bite injuries, cat bite, dog bite, hand, human bite..