Facial mutilation after an assault with chemicals: 15 cases and literature review

J Burn Care Rehabil. 1997 May-Jun;18(3):234-7. doi: 10.1097/00004630-199705000-00010.


Facial mutilation after an assault with chemicals is rarely discussed in the literature even though it is a devastating injury that occurs worldwide and is not prohibited or punished by special laws. It is our purpose to describe the devastating outcome of facial mutilation after an assault with chemicals and to draw attention to this injury as a worldwide problem. We studied fifteen patients who sustained facial mutilation with chemicals. The common story was that the patient's spouse was the perpetrator, that sulfuric acid was used, and that the deed occurred after marital or financial discord. All victims were disfigured severely and most became reclusive and rarely left their homes. Six patients (40%) had total bilateral blindness and one suffered partial loss of vision. Lower eyelid ectropion (14), microstomia (12), cervical flexion contracture (10), ear deformity (8), and nostril stenosis (6) were common. Few of the perpetrators were prosecuted. We reviewed the literature and found that the problem has been described all over the world, and that the outcome is similar to that which we described. The problem deserves worldwide recognition and attention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Burns, Chemical*
  • Facial Injuries / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spouses