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Soft Tissue Injuries

Synonyms: Soft Tissue Trauma, Soft Tissue Damage

What are Soft Tissue Injuries?

Soft Tissue Injuries comprise of injuries to the soft tissues i.e. skin, sub-cutaneous tissues, fat, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, hair and mucous membrane in any part of the body. Soft Tissue Injuries can result in considerable and permanent disfigurement where ever they occur.

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What are the different types of Soft Tissue Injuries?

Soft Tissue Injuries can be scars, keloids, contusions, lacerations, puncture wounds, tattoos with debris and avulsive injuries of the skin and soft tissues.

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How are Soft Tissue Injuries caused?

Soft Tissue Injuries may be caused by (chemical, electrical) Burns and Thermal Injuries, Animal or Human Bites (dog bite, snake bite) falls, effects of radiation, motor vehicle accidents, work related, acute and chronic wounds, soft tissue infections resulting in skin defects, violence and physical abuse.

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What are the most common sites for Soft Tissue Injuries?

The most common sites for Soft Tissue Injuries are face (eye brows, nose, ears, eyelids, cheeks, lips, chin, jaw), hands, chest, shoulder, knee and upper arms.

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How are Soft Tissue Injuries treated?

Timely and appropriate treatment for Soft Tissue Injuries plays a vital role in determining the extent of disfigurement. Emergency treatment is provided by the primary health care provider, definitive treatment is provided by the plastic surgeon. Soft Tissue Injuries are treated in two phases; immediate treatment of Soft Tissue Injuries (acute phase) and delayed treatment of Soft Tissue Injuries (surgical intervention).

  • Immediate Treatment of Soft Tissue Injuries
    • Do not move damaged body part - It may make an injury worse and increase bleeding.
    • Ensure patency of Airway - Establishing a patent airway is definitely a priority for the management of Soft Tissue Injuries.
    • Visual Examination and Palpation - Examine the face starting from the scalp down to the upper part of neck and side-to-side (from ear-to-ear). Examine for any obvious swellings, depressions, or bruising.
    • Stop the Bleeding - Face is a very vascular part of the body therefore, Soft Tissue Injuries have a tendency to bleed profusely. Apply steady pressure for 15 minutes at the site of injury. In case of a nosebleed, apply an ice pack to your nose and cheeks and keep pinching the soft part of your nose for 15 minutes.
    • Wound Decontamination and Debridement - This step consists of removing debris, pus, blood, glass or gravel from the wound. This is usually done with cleansing and irrigation with normal saline.
    • Wound Assessment - Assess if there is any damage or injury to blood vessels, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, bones, or internal organs.
    • Medications - Pain medication, antibiotics and a tetanus shot are the first line of treatment.
    • Diagnostic Studies - It is important to perform diagnostic tests like x-ray, CT scan, MRI and arteriography to plan appropriate management of complicated Soft Tissue Injuries.
    • Wound Exploration - After wound cleansing, using adequate anesthesia to numb the pain and discomfort. Undiscovered foreign bodies, partial tendon lacerations, and joint penetration are more likely to be overlooked if a wound is not adequately explored.
    • Wound Closure - Staple closure is not suitable for wounds from Soft Tissue Injuries. Minimal or non-tension sutures significantly impact the esthetic appearance of the wound and play an important role in the mechanism of closure. Observation of the lines of expression is vital to a natural-appearing repair. Wounds on the face may be closed up to 24 hours after injury.
    • Repair of Soft Tissue Injuries - Repair of Soft Tissue Injuries within the first 12 - 24 hours is optimum as the tissues are less prone to infection and and the healing would be faster.
    • Open or Closed Reduction of fracture of the facial bones.
  • Surgical Intervention for Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Assessment of loss of function due to Soft Tissue Injuries
    • Consultation by an ophthalmologist, E.N.T. specialist and a neurosurgeon is necessary for management of severe Soft Tissue Injuries.

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What is the 'rehab' like following Soft Tissue Injuries?

Soft Tissue Injuries can impart a high degree of emotional, as well as physical trauma especially when sustained on the face. The art of managing these injuries requires team of specially trained health care professionals who will educate you and your family on how to provide best care during rehabilitation period, and will also outline specific problems that might require immediate medical attention. The team of health professionals for the management of Soft Tissue Injuries will comprise of neurosurgeon, plastic surgeon, cosmetic dentist, orthodontist, speech therapist, E.N.T. specialist, eye specialist, hearing specialist, psychiatrist and a social worker.

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B . R . A . N . D . of repair of Soft Tissue Injuries

Benefits of repair of Soft Tissue Injuries

  • With the availability of state-of-art computer imaging system, you will have a better idea of the results that might be achieved by surgical intervention. A formal treatment plan will be put together utilizing the skills and expertise of health care professionals specializing in management of Soft Tissue Injuries. Corrective treatments for Soft Tissue Injuries will most definitely improve the esthetics of your face and rest of your body, it will also improve breathing and feeding problems that are associated with Soft Tissue Injuries of the face.

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Risks of repair of Soft Tissue Injuries

Like all other Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery procedures, corrective treatments for Soft Tissue Injuries involves the risk of complications including:

  • Asymmetry of your face - This a common problem when one side of your mouth and nose do not match the other side. In such a case, a revision surgery is performed to try and match both the sides of the face as closely as possible.
  • Incomplete repair of Soft Tissue Injuries - A second operation or revision surgery may be required for complete correction.
  • Infection of the incision site
  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia
  • Bleeding, swelling, bruising and delayed healing - It is normal to have some bruising and oozing of bloody discharge from the face areas which will soon subside.

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Alternatives to repair of Soft Tissue Injuries

  • The treatment options discussed above are the best available for individuals with Soft Tissue Injuries

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Now or Never

  • Soft Tissue Injuries can range from mild abnormalities to extensive deformities involving the entire face and skull. Sophisticated reconstructive surgical techniques yield tremendously gratifying and outstanding aesthetic and functional results.

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Decision to repair Soft Tissue Injuries

  • Each individual's needs are unique for corrective treatments for Soft Tissue Injuries and the treatment plans are customized to meet all of your physical and emotional needs i.e. from special dietary or language requirements, to educational or emotional considerations.

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Keywords: Scars, Keloids, Contusions, Lacerations, Puncture Wounds, Tattoos, Avulsive Injuries, Effects of Radiation, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Occupational Injuries, Acute and Chronic Wounds, Infections of Soft Tissues, Violence, Physical Abuse, Damaged Hair, Nose Disfigurement, Contusion, Concussion, Head and Neck Injury, Ear Discharge, Nose Bleed, Dof Bite, Snake Bite, Delayed Healing.

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