Degloving Injury

Deep Vein Thrombosis

A degloving injury usually has catastrophic consequences. Degloving often leads to an amputation. If doctors can repair the injury, it can have long-term effects like disfigurement and nerve damage.

A degloving injury could cause you to face expensive reconstructive surgeries and long-term disabilities. You might incur significant medical costs and lose your ability to work or meet your daily needs.

Below, you will learn about degloving injuries and the compensation you can seek for their effects.

Table of Contents

What Are the Soft Tissues of Your Musculoskeletal System?

What Are the Soft Tissues of Your Musculoskeletal System?

Your musculoskeletal system includes your skeleton and soft tissues. Bones are made of a calcium matrix. As a result, they have a hard, brittle texture. Soft tissues also contain calcium, but the concentration is so low that they retain a flexible texture.

Your soft tissues include:

  • Cartilage
  • Muscles
  • Tendons
  • Ligaments

Your skin sits over your soft tissues. The skin is part of your immune system and protects your body from microorganisms. It also prevents water loss.

Your skin has three layers. The epidermis is the layer of skin that’s visible on the surface. It forms a watertight barrier against foreign substances. 

The dermis rests below the epidermis and contains nerve endings, blood vessels, sweat glands, and pigment cells.

The hypodermis contains connective tissue to hold the skin to the layers of soft tissue underneath the skin. A fat layer sits just below the hypodermis to insulate your body.

What Can Cause a Degloving Injury?

When your body slides across a rough surface, you can suffer an abrasion. In an abrasion, the rough surface scrapes the skin from your body.

A degloving injury is similar to an abrasion but much deeper. A degloving injury strips the flesh below your skin from your body.

Degloving injuries take two forms:

Open Degloving Injury

In an open degloving, a sharp or rough object scrapes the flesh from your body, leaving an open wound. The flesh may remain attached as a loose flap, or it may get torn from your body entirely.

An open degloving injury can happen in many types of accidents. A pedestrian accident can cause a degloving injury during the primary impact with the vehicle or in a secondary impact with the pavement.

motorcycle accident can also cause a degloving injury when the motorcyclist gets knocked over and slides across the pavement. Motorcycle accidents can cause severe degloving injuries due to the speed motorcycles can travel and the weight of the vehicle when it falls onto the motorcyclist’s legs and body.

Degloving injuries also happen in bicycle accidents. An impact can push the cyclist into the handlebars, which can then strip the flesh from the abdomen, hip, or leg.

Closed Degloving Injury

In a closed degloving injury, friction forces cause the flesh to tear from your body without creating an open wound. You can imagine this type of injury as a gap or bubble under your soft tissues that develops when your tissues get pulled.

A closed degloving injury is difficult to detect since it causes few outward signs. In many cases, the internal bleeding from a closed degloving injury looks like a bruise.

Closed degloving injuries can happen in accidents where friction forces the soft tissues to separate. For example, a slip and fall accident can cause closed degloving injuries on the hip when you fall and slide.

What Are Some Complications from Degloving Injuries?

Doctors treat closed degloving injuries by compressing the layers of torn soft tissues together with bandages. If the gap between the layers of tissue is filled with fluid, doctors may drain the fluid before compressing the wound.

Doctors can try to treat open degloving injuries by reattaching the flap of torn flesh. This treatment works when doctors can restore the blood flow to the torn flap. But doctors can’t always use this treatment. For example, when the flap has been contaminated with dirt, oil, or chemicals, doctors might prefer not to reattach it.

Similarly, if you suffer a degloving injury and cannot reach a doctor within a few hours, the soft tissue cells will die from a lack of blood. Instead of reattaching the flap of dead flesh, doctors might close the wound with sutures or skin grafts.

Depending on the complexity of reconnecting the blood vessels, doctors might prefer to amputate rather than replace the torn soft tissues. A degloving injury to a finger might require extensive work and might not restore the function of the finger. As a result, doctors might amputate the finger instead of attempting reconstructive surgery.

Other complications that can result from treatment for a degloving injury include:

Infection

Infections happen when microorganisms get into the body through an open wound. Degloving injuries breach the protection from infection provided by the skin. Microorganisms can enter the body and multiply, which can make you sick.

Doctors typically treat infections with antibiotics. If left untreated, infections can cause sepsis and death.

Nerve Damage

A degloving injury that reaches below the dermis can sever the nerve endings that enable your sense of touch. If a degloving injury reaches the muscles, it can sever the nerves that control them.

Doctors can repair nerves with nerve graft surgery. But when degloving affects a large area, doctors might not be able to repair all of the damaged nerves, leaving you with numbness and loss of dexterity.

Scars

Scars happen when replacement tissues grow back thicker and less elastic than the original tissues. Scars are a common side effect of skin grafts.

A common degloving injury happens when the scalp or face gets torn from the skull in a pedestrian, bicycle, or motorcycle accident. When scars develop after a degloving injury to the head, you may have significant disfigurement.

What Compensation Can You Seek for a Degloving Injury?

You can seek personal injury compensation if your degloving injury happened due to someone else’s negligence. If you prove negligence, you can pursue compensation for your economic losses, such as medical costs. You can also seek compensation for your non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, disability, and disfigurement.

A degloving injury can have long-lasting or even permanent effects. Contact one of our M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss the compensation you can seek for your degloving injury at (855) 599-2987.

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