Mind your hand during the energy crunch: Functional Outcome of Circular Saw Hand Injuries

Frank, Matthias; Hecht, Juliane; Napp, Matthias; Lange, Joern; Grossjohann, Rico; Stengel, Dirk; Schmucker, Uli; Ekkernkamp, Axel; Hinz, Peter
January 2010
Journal of Trauma Management & Outcomes;2010, Vol. 4, p11
Academic Journal
Background: Although injuries due to circular saws are very common all over the world, there is surprisingly little information available about their functional outcomes. As the socioeconomic impact of these injuries is immense and determined by the casualties' disability and impairment, it is the objective of this study to present data on the functional outcome, disability, and impairment of hand injuries due to electric circular saws. Methods: Patients treated from 1999 through 2007 for circular saw-related hand injuries were contacted and asked for clinical follow-up assessment. The clinical follow-up protocol consisted of a physical examination and an assessment of static muscle power (grip and pinch strength). For assessment of the subjective experience of the patients regarding their injury-related disability and impairment, the DASH follow-up questionnaire was used. The occupational impact of these injuries was measured by number of lost working days. Finally, safety-related behaviour of the patients was investigated. Results: 114 Patients were followed-up on average 52 months after the injury. Average in-house treatment was 8.8 days. Average time lost from work was 14.8 weeks. A significant reduction of static muscle testing parameters compared with the uninjured hand was revealed for grip strength, tip pinch, key pinch, and palmar pinch. Average DASH score was 17.4 (DASH work 15.8, DASH sports/music 17.7). Most patients had more than ten years experience in using these power tools. Conclusion: The everyday occurrence of circular saw-related hand injuries followed by relatively short periods of in-house treatment might distort the real dimension of the patients' remaining disability and impairment. While the trauma surgeon's view is generally confined to the patients' clinical course, the outcome parameters in this followup investigation, with loss of working time as the key factor, confirm that the whole socioeconomic burden is much greater than the direct cost of treatment.


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