High-Velocity Paint Gun Injuries

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Abstract

Cutaneous injuries due to industrial high-pressure paint guns are well-documented in the literature; however, the histologic characteristics are uncommonly described, and facial involvement has not been previously reported. Histopathologic features of paint gun injuries vary depending on the time since injection and type of material. Early lesions display an acute neutrophilic infiltrate, edema, and thrombosis, with varying degrees of skin, fat, and muscle necrosis. More developed lesions (120–192 hours after injury) have prominent histiocytes and fibrosis around necrotic foci, possibly with the pitfall of muscle regenerative giant cells that could be mistaken for sarcoma. Continuing inflammation, swelling, and resultant vascular compression could explain ongoing necrosis months after the accident. The histopathologic differential diagnosis in the absence of clinical history includes paint in an abrasion, foreign body reaction to tattoo, giant cell tumor of tendon sheath, and various neoplasms. If available, radiologic studies can substitute for clinical photographs to indicate the extent of injury. The radiologic differential, uninformed by history, may include calcific periarthritis, gouty tophus, and tumoral calcinosis. Seven cases of injury due to high-velocity paint guns are presented with 4 additional cases mimicking paint gun injury and with review of the literature.

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