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What is a Degloving Injury?

The term “deglove” is defined in the medical field as an injury where the skin is completely pulled off of the hand and arm, exposing the underlying tissues including muscle and bone. However, this definition does not begin to describe the entirety of the injury or the various areas of the body where one can experience a degloving injury.

This type of injury is one of the most traumatic and gruesome injuries an individual can suffer. The most common causes are high-speed car accidents and jobsite accidents involving heavy equipment.

Degloving results in serious avulsion of the skin and underlying subcutaneous tissue which often causes further complications including hemodynamic instability (where your body is unable to regulate basic functions including blood pressure). Degloving injuries are often co-occurring with more life threatening injuries such as head trauma, internal bleeding, or direct injury to blood vessels. In these types of situations, intervention for the degloving injury by a plastic surgeon will be delayed until the other issues are addressed.

High-Risk Situations

These types of injuries involve the detachment of skin and subcutaneous tissue, carrying a significant risk of mortality and morbidity. Because this type of injury is so dramatic and grotesque, it is imperative for medical professionals to focus on and assess other life threatening injuries before turning their attention to the degloving injury.

After the patient is otherwise stable, necessary treatments include assessing the potential for skin salvage and/or replantation. A plastic surgeon will work with others including orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists to care for the patient who may require an extensive array of skin grafts as well as other interventions. In addition to replantation, skin grafts, and revasculization (reintroducing proper blood supply), it is often necessary to perform what is known as a microneural repair to restore nerve supply and sensation.

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to salvage the limb that has been degloved, and amputation is always a risk. Another real danger is infection, including necrotizing fasciitis (flesh eating bacteria) setting in, which may make amputation necessary to save the life of the patient.

Reality of Recovery

Because of the catastrophic nature of this type of injury, patients will take weeks to months to recover, and even then, many suffer from chronic pain due to nerve damage. The inability to do normal day-to-day activities including bathe, walk, or dress can cause the patient to suffer from depression. This is also the case for many injured people who are unable to return to their typical line of work.

Others may remain out of work for a protracted period of time while they endure extensive physical therapy which is essential to prevent stiffening and loss of function. Physical scarring can be extensive and reconstruction can mean multiple surgeries and lengthy periods of recovery-not to mention exorbitant medical bills.

Seek Legal Assistance

Degloving injuries are, by their very nature, life-altering. If you or someone you care about has suffered this type of devastating injury, it is important for you to seek the counsel of an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer. The long-term consequences of a degloving injury may not be immediately evident, so it is important to work with a dedicated legal team who understands this type of injury.

At Shea Law Group, our Chicago personal injury lawyers, have handled thousands of catastrophic personal injury cases, and we know what it takes to not only achieve a positive outcome, but to ensure the settlement you receive protects you and your family’s financial future. Call (877)-365-0040 to book your free, no-obligation consultation today.