Surgical implications of snakebites
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Objective : Snakebites are a common problem in the pediatric age group. Local complications such as necrosis and compartment syndrome threaten limb survival even after control of systemic manifestations. Few recommendations exist about the nature and timing of surgical treatment.Methods: A retrospective review of all children with snakebites presenting to the hospital was undertaken over a 6-year period. Records were reviewed with special emphasis on the type of surgical lesions seen and the treatment offered and their results.Results: 44 of the 58 children required some form of local therapy. In the majority conservative treatment was successful. 28% of the patients needed debridement for local necrosis, and only 5 needed a skin graft, with good functional results over a period of 1 to 45 days. One child underwent an above knee amputation. Patients who required surgical intervention received significantly more vials of antivenin.Conclusion: Local complications of snakebite are frequent, but can be managed conservatively. Delayed excision of the resultant local necrosis is associated with good outcomes. The need for fasciotomy is rare.
Key wordsSnakebites Envenomation Local complications Necrosis
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