Pediatric Dog Bites: A Review of 1422 Cases Treated at a Level One Regional Pediatric Trauma Center.
Background: Children under the age of 14 account for over 40% of the almost 900,000 annual hospital visits associated with dog bites. Care for dog bites ranges from simple wound irrigation to complex surgical reconstruction. Due to a number of factors, children frequently sustain dog bites to highly vulnerable regions, often necessitating intervention by plastic surgeons.
Methods: This retrospective study analyzed data from the 1422 pediatric patients who sustained dog bites and presented to the Le Bonheur Children's Hospital Emergency Room from January 2011 to May 2017.
Results: The typical pediatric dog bite case was male (63.5%), African-American (57.4%), and less than 10 years old (69.4%). The head and neck were the most commonly affected areas (64.7%). Of the head and neck regions, the cheeks and lips were the most frequently injured structures (34.5%). Hospital admission was required for 188 patients (13.2%) and operative repair was deemed necessary in 16.9% of all cases. Of the patients requiring inpatient operative repair, most (78.3%) were discharged in less than 24 hours. Operative complications occurred in 5.8% of all cases, with infections accounting for the majority (92.9%). No fatal dog bites occurred in this study.
Conclusions: Age, bite location, and number of bites sustained are several factors of significance, which may aid the novice plastic surgeon in identifying, which pediatric dog bite cases will require surgical intervention.