Degloving Injuries on the Job

A degloving injury is one of the most catastrophic types of injuries that a worker can suffer. It occurs when the skin is detached from the bones, muscle, and tissue. This injury usually occurs in the hand or arm and carries a significant risk of infection, loss of a limb, or even death. The Philadelphia work injury lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. understand the devastating toll that degloving injuries can take on you and your family. We are here to help you secure the benefits you deserve.

What are Degloving Injuries?

Degloving is a term that refers to when the skin is forcibly detached from the rest of the hand or arm, leaving the underlying bones, muscles, tendons, and tissues exposed. Degloving injuries often happen to the hands or arms but can also involve other parts of the body, such as the legs, trunk, scalp, face, and genitalia. The underlying musculoskeletal structure is left in tact and the individual suffering from the injury usually maintains the ability to move their body part normally despite the severe pain due to exposed nerve endings.

Causes of Degloving Injuries

Degloving injuries can happen to workers in all types of industries, especially the oil and gas industry where hand injuries comprise 50 percent of all injuries. A degloving injury is usually caused by some type of trauma from industrial accidents, traffic accidents, or caught in/between accidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that the most common causes of degloving injuries include:

  • Caught in/between objects
  • Defective machinery
  • Exposure to caustic chemicals, or infectious and biological agents
  • Severe cold, heat, or vibration

Another common cause of degloving injuries are traffic accidents, which typically involve a vehicle running over an outstretched hand and forearm at a low velocity. Ring avulsions may occur when an employee wearing a ring gets caught on an object, causing the skin from that finger to rip away.

Treatment for Degloving Injuries

Degloving injuries are often severe, requiring multiple surgeries or even amputation. The best option is replantation and revascularization. Replantation is the surgical reattachment of the body part and revascularization is the restoration of blood supply. Replantation and revascularization often involve microneural repair to restore nerve supply and sensation, and the use of vein grafts for arterial or venous repair.

However, replantation and revascularization may not be an option if the vascular pedicle of the skin is unsalvageable. If there are other life-threatening injuries that must be addressed first or if there are concomitant comorbid conditions that do not allow the use of prolonged anesthesia, the degloved skin may be defatted and used as a full thickness graft or thick split graft.

If replantation, revascularization, and skin grafting are not viable options, the degloved hand or finger may be preserved for potential future reconstruction or it may be amputated. Amputation may be necessary in instances where a marginal finger was affected, such as an index or little finger, and the patient is not able to afford the time required for the reconstruction process due to work obligations.

Philadelphia Work Injury Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Represent Workers with Degloving Injuries

If you suffered a degloving accident at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Even if your initial claim was denied, you are entitled to an appeal. The Philadelphia work injury lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. have over 35 years of experience and can help you obtain just compensation for your workplace injury. We represent injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, and throughout Pennsylvania. For a free consultation, call us at 888-PITT-LAW or complete our online contact form.

Our team also provides skilled representation to those residing in and around Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester, and Wynnewood.

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