• Indications for operative intervention following human bites to the hand were determined based on physical examination and time elapsed since injury. One hundred twenty-four patients admitted to Charity Hospital of New Orleans, La, were stratified according to time elapsed from injury to treatment (early, less than 24 hours; delayed, 1 to 7 days; and late, greater than 7 days). Patients in the early group were mainly treated with conservative wound care, consisting of local wound exploration and irrigation in the emergency department, while those in the late group underwent surgical débridement. Patients in the delayed group either received conservative wound care or underwent débridement in the operating room. The early and late groups recovered excellent hand function while results within the delayed group were variable with improved results depending on rapid surgical débridement or drainage.
(Arch Surg. 1991;126:65-67)