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Learning More About Degloving Injuries!

Written and reviewed by
MBBS, MS - General Surgery
General Surgeon, Varanasi  •  10years experience
Learning More About Degloving Injuries!

Degloving or Avulsion is an injury that is caused when the underlying muscles or bone are ripped off from the top layer of an individual’s skin. This can happen to any part of the body depending upon its type. Degloving involves massive loss of blood and death of tissues which makes it life-threatening. This Degloving is majorly caused by trauma with other causes such as accidents or injuries where the skin is pulled away from the body at comparatively low speed or an individual’s body part pulled away by the speed. There are basically two types of Degloving Injuries: Open-Degloving Injuries and Closed-Degloving Injuries.

Types of Degloving Injuries
● Open-Degloving Injuries:
When one’s muscles and bones are exposed due to degloving, it is known as open degloving injury. This can happen to any part of the body, but the most common regions are face, scalp, torso, and legs. It is a life-threatening injury because it has more blood loss and hence requires immediate treatment to control blood loss and infection.

● Close-Degloving Injuries: Another type is a closed-degloving injury which is not always visible. In this type of Degloving, the top layer of the skin is detached from the inner layer creating a gap under the skin. This gap between the tissues is known as Morel-Lavallée lesions that are filled with blood, fat, and lymph fluids. This type is difficult to diagnose as the bruise is the only visible symptom. This reason makes it life-threatening as it is only diagnosed in MRIs. Closed- Degloving injuries are mainly caused in knees, hips, torso, scapula or shoulder blade and lower spine.

Causes of Degloving Injuries-
There can be a number of causes which lead to Degloving Injuries. These include trauma, animal bites, falling horizontally or vertically, accidents, sports and injuries caused by metal instruments or equipment.

Treatment of Degloving Injuries-
The treatment of Degloving Injuries takes into account many factors of the problem, its type, part of the injury and intensity. The most important thing is to prevent the infection from spreading. Minor Degloving requires bandaging of the part to heal it but most of the time it needs surgeries and other treatment options.

In the Open-Degloving Injuries, as the injury is exposed, one might need amputation, skin transplant, and reattachment of the skin or fingers. These treatments require several surgeries and physical therapies post-surgery. The treatment for Closed-Degloving Injuries does not require major surgeries. It can be treated by Sclerotherapy, elimination of dead tissue and draining of fluids between the gaps followed by physical therapies. One should make sure of the injury even after the treatment and if anything like swelling, redness, body pain and fever occur, the doctor should immediately be consulted.

Take Away-
Degloving Injuries are serious injuries and can be life-threatening if not treated immediately and rightly. There are many causes of it, mainly accidents, where the skin is ripped off from layers underneath and bones as well. The treatment of the injury depends upon its type, severity, and part of the body where it happened. In the Open- Degloving Injuries, one has to go through a number of surgeries followed by physical therapies. In the Closed-Degloving Injuries, the treatment is not always surgical and is also followed by physical therapies.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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