Histopathology of Cutaneous Conducted Electrical Weapon Injuries

  • Michael Graham


Published descriptions of the microscopic features of cutaneous injuries caused by CEW discharges are limited. Descriptions of CEW lesions sustained under controlled conditions are lacking. This chapter delineates the histopathological appearances of uncomplicated CEW cutaneous injuries consequent to single 5-second discharge of CEWs applied in drive stun (stun gun) and deployed electrodes modes. Skin biopsies were obtained from volunteers immediately, 1, 24, 48, and 72 h following CEW discharges.

Cutaneous injuries due to CEWs reflect a combination of mechanic and electrical forces. These injuries involve minor tissue damage. CEW discharge in either drive stun or deployed electrode mode results in epidermal necrosis. The dermis is largely unaffected in fixed electrode discharges. Deployable electrodes puncture the skin and cause localized dermal disruption and hemorrhage. CEW injuries elicit an inflammatory reaction and heal with little, if any, residua.


Epidermal Cell Puncture Site Hyperchromatic Nucleus Dermal Collagen Viable Epidermis 
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I would like to thank the research group of Jeffrey Ho, M.D. (Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN), and Donald Dawes, M.D. (Lompoc Valley Medical Center, Lompoc, CA), for their work in obtaining and submitting biopsy samples for contribution to this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Forensic Pathology, Pathology DepartmentSt. Louis University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.City of St. Louis Medical Examiner’s OfficeSt. LouisUSA

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