World Journal of Surgery

, Volume 37, Issue 10, pp 2348–2352

Gunshot Wounds to the Face: Emergency Interventions and Outcomes

  • George Orthopoulos
  • Antonios Sideris
  • Elpida Velmahos
  • Maria Troulis

DOI: 10.1007/s00268-013-2139-x

Cite this article as:
Orthopoulos, G., Sideris, A., Velmahos, E. et al. World J Surg (2013) 37: 2348. doi:10.1007/s00268-013-2139-x



Gunshot wounds to the face (GSWF) may produce life-threatening injuries. Our objective is to describe outcomes of and factors related to interventions for urgent airway control (UAC) and urgent bleeding control (UBC) as well as to analyze complications associated with GSWF.


This was a retrospective study of 155 GSWF patients who were admitted to two Level 1 academic trauma centers over an 11-year period. Demographic details, injuries sustained, interventions performed, and timing of the interventions were recorded. Morbidity and mortality data were evaluated.


Overall, 115 (74 %) patients suffered isolated GSWF, and none died. Of the 90 (58 %) patients requiring UAC, only three had a cricothyroidotomy. Of the 41 (26 %) patients requiring UBC, only four had angiographic embolization. Intraoral involvement and extrafacial injuries were associated with both UAC and UBC. Overall, 75 patients (48 %) required operations on the bones, eyes, or both. Complications developed in 14 and were treated successfully.


UAC and UBC are required frequently after GSWF and are associated with intraoral involvement and injuries beyond the face. Simple methods, such as orotracheal intubation and packing, are typically sufficient for successful management. About half of the patients need further surgery, with infrequent morbidity.

Copyright information

© Société Internationale de Chirurgie 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Orthopoulos
    • 1
  • Antonios Sideris
    • 2
  • Elpida Velmahos
    • 2
  • Maria Troulis
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck SurgeryBoston University Medical CenterBostonUSA
  2. 2.Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical CareMassachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Oral and Maxillofacial SurgeryMassachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA