Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the epidemiology of injuries treated at a hand and microsurgery hospital between 1992 and 2005.
Methods: This is a descriptive retrospective study based on medical records of a hand and microsurgery hospital in İzmir for the years 1992-2005. A total of 8,946 injuries involving 8,817 patients were included. Data on diagnosis were recorded according to ICD-10. Intent, activity when injured, mechanism of injury, object/substance producing injury, and place of injury were recoded according to International Classification of External Causes of Injury (ICECI).
Results: The most common types of injury were amputations (32.3%), fractures (23.7%), and open wounds (19.9%) of the wrist and hand. Most injuries were sustained by males; 28.4% of injuries occurred during summer. According to activity, 76.3% were injured during paid work, 10.4% during transportation, 9.1% during unpaid work, and 3.8% during leisure time sports and exercise. Injuries most commonly occurred while operating a machine. The risk of hand injury was elevated in those younger than 35 years of age, males, persons outside İzmir province, and in Social Security Instution (SSI) insured workers (p<0.001). The riskiest activity for hand injuries was paid work. Compared to baseline, the risk of hand injuries was 29 times [95% confidence interval (CI) 16.36-50.40] as high in industrial or construction areas, and 50 times (95% CI 17.29-143.96) as high in commercial places
Conclusion: Hand injuries are important because of their consequences, such as permanent disability and their high treatment costs. This study points out many important risk factors, and has contributed the development of hypotheses about injury types, under-notification of occupational injuries, and child labour. The inclusion of medical records from such specialized hospitals into national databases will aid in the prevention of these injuries, and induce developments in diagnosis and treatment.