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imageBackground
Pediatric dog bite injuries account for 1% of emergency department visits per year and represent an underrecognized and underreported public health problem. Reconstructive surgery is frequently utilized, and in the most extreme injuries, microvascular replantation may be considered. We sought to systematically review the available literature on microvascular replantation after facial dog bite injuries in children, with particular attention to perioperative morbidity and long-term follow-up.
Methods
We reviewed a case of microvascular replantation after a facial dog bite injury in a child from our own institution and conducted a systematic literature search to identify other similar reports. Clinical variables were collected from the reported cases, and descriptive statistics were calculated. A management algorithm was developed from the reviewed published experience.
Results
We report the youngest child to date in the literature to undergo replantation after a facial dog bite injury. Nineteen other cases were found involving children aged 18 months to 17 years, with follow-up ranging from 2 weeks to 28 years. Anastomosis techniques varied considerably and included both an artery and vein in only 9 (47%) of 19 cases. Venous congestion was nearly universal, and multimodal techniques were used until native venous outflow was reestablished. Blood transfusion was common, but intensive care unit utilization was not frequently reported. Long-term outcomes were excellent, with growth of the replanted part and recovery of function; however, minor revision procedures were common.
Conclusions
Microvascular replantation following facial dog bite amputation injuries in the pediatric population is the ultimate step in the reconstructive ladder. Strong consideration should be given to microvascular exploration with involvement of large or whole segments of the lip, nose, or ear; however, parents should be counseled extensively regarding the known morbidity of replantation surgery. With meticulous surgical technique and careful postoperative care, replantation after facial dog bite amputation injuries may successfully achieve dramatic and lasting results for pediatric patients.

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