Pediatric Lower Extremity Lawn Mower Injuries and Reconstruction: Retrospective 10-Year Review at a Level 1 Trauma Center

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IntroductionFrom 2004 to 2013, there were 9341 lawn mower injuries in children under 20 years old. The incidence of lawn mower injuries in children has not decreased since 1990 despite implementation of various different prevention strategies. In this report, the authors review the results of pediatric lawn mower–related lower-extremity injuries treated at a tertiary care referral center as well as review the overall literature.MethodsA retrospective review was performed at a level 1 trauma center over a 10-year period (2005–2015). Patients younger than 18 years who presented to the emergency room with lower extremity lawn mower injuries were included.ResultsOf the 27 patients with lower-extremity lawn mower injuries during this period, the mean age at injury was 5.5 years and Injury Severity Score was 7.2. Most (85%) patients were boys and the predominant type of mower causing injury was a riding lawn mower (96%). Injury occurred in patients who were bystanders in 78%, passengers in 11%, and operators in 11%. Mean length of stay was 12.2 days, and mean time to reconstruction was 7.9 days. Mean number of surgical procedures per patient was 4.1. Amputations occurred in 15 (56%) cases with the most common level of amputation being distal to the metatarsophalangeal joint (67%). Reconstructive procedures ranged from direct closure (41%) to free tissue transfer (7%). Major complications included infection (7%), wound dehiscence (11%), and delayed wound healing (15%). Mean follow up was 23.6 months and 100% of the patients were ambulatory after injury. The subgroup of patients with the most severe injuries, highest number of amputations, and need for overall surgical procedures were patients aged 2 to 5 years. A review of the literature also showed consistent findings.ConclusionsThis study demonstrates the danger and morbidity that lawn mowers present to the pediatric population, particularly children aged 2 to 5 years. Every rung of the so-called reconstructive ladder is used in caring for these children. Increased public awareness is insufficient to decrease the incidence of these injuries. These products should have additional warning labels and meet updated changes to the design of lawn mowers to prevent these mutilating injuries successfully.

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