Jan 1, 1976

Chemical injuries of the upper extremity

Major Problems in Clinical Surgery
T J Orcutt, B A Pruitt


The prompt recognition and management (Tables 8-1 and 8-2) of chemical burns of the upper extremity may prevent injury to the deep structures of the hand and may make the difference between satisfactory rehabilitation and crippling deformities. Immediate irrigation with water is the single most important treatment that can be carried out, and should be continued for at least an hour and often for several hours, depending on the severity of the injury. Precious time should not be wasted hunting for a specific neutralizing agent. Hydrofluoric acid injuries and phosphorus injuries are the two exceptions to this principle. After copious irrigation and débridement, small superficial burns may be treated without dressings or topical therapy. Large partial-thickness burns are best treated with Sulfamylon burn cream and then with with biologic dressings until healing is achieved. Full-thickness injuries of limited extent should be excised and skin-grafted to regain maximum function, and more extensive burns treated in a nonexicisional regimen.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Chemical Burns
Sulfates, Inorganic
Hand Injuries
Phosphate Measurement
Red Phosphorus
Upper Extremity
Phosphorus Measurement

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