Rosenthal et al. classified female, habitual, non-suicidal wrist cutters as a group and introduced the concept of wrist-cutting syndrome. We investigated the characteristics of wrist-cutting patients at our institution in comparison with results reported previously.
We conducted a retrospective study involving 115 patients who had cut their wrists and been examined at the emergency department of a single hospital in Seoul, Korea, between March 2014 and August 2018.
There were more women (73 patients; 63.5%) than men (42 patients; 36.5%), and the women (mean age, 34.42 years) were significantly younger than the men (mean age, 50.07 years). The patients who had cut their wrists repeatedly were mainly women (22 of 26 patients; 84.6%); however, men caused more severe damage than women. Substance use before a suicide attempt did not significantly increase the severity of wrist cutting. Our institution planned and implemented a suicide prevention intervention program to improve the continuity of outpatient care. The number of patients who continued psychiatric treatment increased significantly after program completion.
We confirmed that most patients were young women who were not suicidal in the true sense because their wounds were not severe. Our study showed a protective role of the barrier tendons (flexor carpi radialis, palmaris longus, flexor carpi ulnaris), and we suggest careful repair of the barrier tendons to protect neurovascular structures against subsequent cutting events. We found that it was possible to improve the continuity of patient counseling by managing patients through a psychiatric treatment program.