European journal of medical research vol:6 issue:7 pages:309-314
Extravasation injuries in subcutaneous tissues during peripheral intravenous administration can result in extensive soft-tissue defects. Early treatment (surgical removal of the extravasated material within 24 h) and late treatment (debridement and coverage) are two possible approaches for this kind of injury. Eighteen patients who suffered a significant extravasation injury were treated surgically between 1/1996 and 5/2001. All patients were referred late (mean 22 days after the event) to our clinic with soft-tissue defects or skin necrosis and were accordingly only amenable to late treatment. The patients with defects over the dorsum of the hand, forearm or cubital fossa area underwent debridement, temporary wound coverage and skin grafting or coverage with a local flap. Spotted infiltrating lesions and necrosis are typical histologic features of a cytotoxic agent extravasation. A safe margin of resection is only achievable with a wide three dimensional excision. The healing time of defects was a mean of 15 days after either skin grafting or flap coverage with no significant difference between the two differing treatment groups. Early referral of patients with extravasation injuries to a specialized department for plastic and hand surgery may in future enable earlier surgical treatment, reduce time of illness and costs.