Keeping abreast of shark bite reconstruction

Published on
12 November 2021

Keeping abreast of shark bite reconstruction: a case report and brief literature review

Alexander I. Murphy, Adam S. Levy, J. Simon Ivey & Jaco Festekjian


Shark attack-related injuries (SARIs) are rare but may result in highly complex wounds requiring reconstruction by plastic surgeons. Here, we present an unusual case of SARI of the breast and briefly review literature on reconstructive management of (1) breast injuries from other large animals and (2) SARIs to other parts of the body. Our patient was a 39-year-old woman who experienced massive bilateral breast tissue loss from a shark attack. After primary surgical wound management, including debridement and washout, the patient underwent completion mastectomy with bilateral deep inferior epigastric perforator flap breast reconstruction. Literature review revealed that reports of animal-related injuries to the breast are rare, with ours being the first on SARI to the breast and the only describing major reconstruction of animal-related breast injury. Literature on reconstruction of non-breast SARI wounds is limited to two case reports describing severe tissue damage akin to that seen in our patient, both necessitating extensive debridement followed by reconstruction. Overall, our findings demonstrate the uniquely devastating damage resulting from SARIs and the value of primary wound management and abdominally based free flaps in successfully reconstructing these wounds.

Eur J Plast Surg (2021). DOI: 10.1007/s00238-021-01908-z


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