Dog bites are increasing and can be devastating, says BAOMS
06 June 2019 (Last updated: 6 Jun 2019 15:43)
Responding to the latest NHS figures on dog bite injuries reported by the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCSEng) today, British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial (BAOMS) Council Member and King’s College Hospital-based consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon Kathy Fan said:
“Dog bites can be devastating, and bites to the face can leave the individual with scars both visual and psychological. In 2018 at King’s we found that 38% of dog bite injuries to the face were suffered by children.
“Research carried out by the maxillofacial team at the Royal London Hospital, part of Barts Health NHS Trust (2016 Vig et al), found that children experienced more facial injuries than expected. More than half of bites in children under 11 years involved the head and neck. They found that their injuries were more severe than elsewhere on the body and 1 in 5 required surgery under general anaesthetic.
“Children are more susceptible to facial dog bites because of their size and behaviour with pets,” Kathy Fan explained. “The playfulness of a child may be misunderstood by a dog as aggression and bite the closest part of the body, inevitably the lips, cheeks and nose. As surgeons we have to work very carefully to repair the damage to minimise the potential for life-long complications.”
For further information and interviews contact:
Siân Evans on 020 8674 8921 / 07752 414433 or BAOMS on 020 7405 8074
Notes to editors
- The British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (BAOMS) promotes the advancement of education, research and the development of oral and maxillofacial Surgery in Great Britain, and encourages and assists postgraduate education, study and research.
- NHS Digital provided the RCS England with figures for finished hospital admission episodes (FAEs) for dog-related injuries, using the following external cause codes: W54 - Bitten or struck by dog 2015-16 to 2017-18. The data, for counts of dog-related injuries cause code, is displayed by month, for 2015-16 to 2017-18, and is available upon request. The data is for activity in English NHS Hospitals and English NHS commissioned activity in the independent sector. FAE is not a count of people – it is a count of admissions, so these figures cannot be used to suggest the precise number of people who have been admitted for a condition, because it is possible some people may have been admitted more than once within the same year.
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