What is an Avulsion?

An avulsion fracture occurs when a small chunk of bone attached to a tendon or ligament gets pulled away from the main part of the bone. The hip, elbow and ankle are the most common locations for avulsion fractures in the young athlete.

A skin avulsion is a severe traumatic injury that leads to the complete loss of large areas of skin. This may occur as the result of car accidents, burns, bites, electrical injuries and other types of trauma. Skin avulsions can be life-threatening because they expose the underlying tissues to infection and potential dehydration and shock.

There are three types of avulsions:
  • Complete avulsion. Tissue completely tears away from the body.
  • Partial avulsion. Tissue separates from the body partially and remains attached by a flap of skin or tissue.
  • Alveolar avulsion. Tissue tears away from a bone socket, such as the socket that holds a tooth in place in your jawbone (alveolar bone).

Incomplete avulsions are also called partial avulsions or lacerations. In many cases, these injuries require emergency medical care. Some types of first aid may be applied safely until help arrives, but other types will cause more harm than good.

Avulsion is complete tearing away of tissue from its point of attachment by some type of force. Depending on the degree of damage, an avulsion may involve tearing away only a small portion of the skin and subcutaneous fat or involve the complete loss of all layers of tissue down to the muscle or bone. Avulsion injuries can be devastating and may require extensive reconstructive surgery or amputation in order to save a person’s life.

What Causes Avulsion?

There are many causes of avulsions but they typically occur when a person is exposed to external forces such as a car accident or explosion that rips away a large portion of their skin and tissue. Injuries involving electricity, explosions or fire may also lead to deep burns that leave exposed muscle or bone behind.

In most cases, there is a sudden force applied in the opposite direction to the tissues natural tension, causing them to pull apart.

This may occur through:
  • a sudden blow during a sporting game
  • a vehicle accident
  • a fall

The wound and resulting tissue damage can be severe and may require plastic surgery to repair.

Avulsion First Aid
  • If you witness someone suffering from an avulsion injury, you should immediately call 911 for emergency medical assistance.

Please note that regular First Aid and CPR Training is the best way to make sure that you’re prepare in the case of an emergency. Book a course with us!

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