Management of osteoarticular and dental injuries in electrocuted patients
Author(s): Andrei Zbuchea and Elina Teodorescu
Electrical accidents can usually lead to severe skin burns and soft tissues damages, but also to uncommon, but often neglected various osteoarticular and dental injuries, such as fractures, dislocations, osteonecrosis, dentition injuries and heterotopic ossification of soft tissues. This review highlights the complete spectrum of osteoarticular and dental injuries previously described in literature in relation to electrocution accidents, with their pattern, diagnosis, clinical and imaging assessment, treatment guidelines, severity and possible risk factors, accordingly to localization and pathophysiology. Fractures and dislocations usually occur after a traumatic event related to electrical injuries, but they can be rarely produced by violent tetanic muscle contractions, due to electrical current passage. The practitioners involved in the management of the electrocuted patients need to bear in mind the possibility of skeletal injuries. All electrocuted patients with suggestive symptoms and signs such as pain, swelling, bone tenderness, and functional impairment, should be examined carefully and in detail, both clinically and by imaging studies. The early recognition, the confirmation by imaging studies and the prompt orthopedic or dental treatment ensure a favorable result and remove the deleterious possible complications.