Year: 2021 Source: BMC Emergency Medicine. (2021). 21,40. SIEC No: 20210380

Self-cutting is a special type of emergency in hand surgery. Despite its low mortality rate, it is clinically significant because there is a possibility of permanent disability and repeated suicide attempts are likely to occur. Therefore, we aim to understand the characteristics of self-inflicted wrist injuries and share the perspectives from a hand surgeon in order to inform those who face these patients primarily in the emergency room.

We reviewed 17 patients with self-inflicted wrist injuries who were referred to the Department of Hand surgery from the Emergency Medicine Department from 2013 to 2017. We investigated the differences in demographic features (age, gender, psychological diagnosis, alcohol consumption, prior suicide attempts) and clinical features (injury side, injury pattern, anatomical structures, distance from wrist crease).

Among the patients, 4 were female and 13 were male. 70.6% of patients (12/17) had injuries on the left wrist and 94.1% of patients (16/17) had injuries on the flexor side. The average distance from the wrist crease to the injured site was 3.43 cm and 90.5% (19/21) of total injuries had an average distance of was less than 5 cm. The most frequently injured structures were palmaris longus tendon (58.5%, 10/17). 52.9% (9/17) of patients, among which 6 of the 8 patients with deep injuries and 3 of the 9 patients with superficial injuries, had a history of a psychiatric disorder.

We conclude that a male with a previously diagnosed psychiatric disorder has a higher chance of inflicting a deeper injury. In addition, self-cutting injuries are highly predictable because most of these injuries occur on the flexor side of the left wrist and are limited to a distance of 5 cm from the wrist crease. In terms of the implements used in self-inflicted injuries, we can predict the type of damage to some degree depending on the type of implement used. In view of these characteristics, more appropriate evaluation can be implemented in the emergency room and those who deal with these patients primarily can cope more effectively for better long-term results.