Case report: successful use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for a complete scalp degloving injury

Undersea Hyperb Med. 2008 Nov-Dec;35(6):441-5.


We report a case of a complete scalp degloving injury in a 43-year-old previously healthy, tobacco-using female whose hair was caught in a tractor power take-off causing an instantaneous total scalping injury. Microsurgical replantation was started 4 hours after injury with the surgical procedure lasting 4 hours. Only the superficial temporal arteries were reanastomosed with no venous anastomosis possible. Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) treatment at 2.5 atmospheres absolute (ATA) for 90 minutes was administered immediately after surgery due to duskiness of the flap. Further HBO2 treatments were administered twice daily for seven days and then once daily for 30 days. Additionally, leech therapy was used for the first ten postoperative days. The patient's right auricle and most of the left auricle were completely lost. Despite the tenuous vascular inflow and initially absent venous drainage, at 3 month follow-up there was reepithelialization of her scalp except for an area of granulation tissue in the occipitoparietal area. At one year follow-up the area of granulation tissue was reduced, but there was no detectable hair growth or nerve function. We propose that HBO2 may facilitate tissue survival in scalp degloving injuries in the face of incomplete surgical revascularization.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation / methods*
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation / psychology
  • Lacerations / surgery
  • Lacerations / therapy*
  • Replantation / methods*
  • Scalp / injuries*