Children Bitten By Dogs Often Suffer Permanent Facial Scarring

Following A Dog Bite Children Often Require Reconstructive and Plastic Surgery

I was bitten by a dog when I was eleven years old.  I still have scars more than thirty years later.  And my grandmother had a large piece of her lower leg bitten off when she was a child in the 1920s.  I will never forget her scars.  Because of my own experience, I feel a special connection to the children who are dog bite victims whose parents come to our firm for help.

Each year more than 600,000 children require medical attention following dog bites. Unfortunately children are more than three times as likely to be bitten as adults. During the summer months children spend more time in parks, at friends' houses, and other places where they may encounter dogs.  And because children are smaller, cannot defend themselves, and may be unsupervised around dangerous dogs, some of these injuries can be very serious.

Plastic surgeons, including reconstructive microsurgeons and maxillofacial surgeons, often treat victims of dog attacks and see firsthand how devastating these injuries can be.  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (ASRM), and the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons (ASMS) are concerned about facial trauma and injuries to children from dog bites.

According to ASPS statistics, nearly 33,000 facial reconstruction surgical procedures on dog bites were performed in 2010, up eight percent from 2009.

According to the Prevent The Bite organization, dog bites are the ninth leading cause of unintentional nonfatal injury to children ages 5-9.  They say that more than 2 million children are bitten by dogs every year, and most bites are from their own dog or a dog they know well. The majority of bites to smaller children are in their face and head.

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