Mutilating Hand Injuries



This problem may be caused by:

  • Industrial accidents from machines and power tools
  • Crushing accidents
  • Burns
  • Chemical exposure
  • Car accidents
  • Farming injuries

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:

  • Jobs that require using dangerous machines
  • Removing safety guards from machinery, such as power saws or wood chippers
  • Short-cuts and poor technique while using machines
  • Not shutting off power to a tool when using hands to work on it
  • Operating machinery or vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs



Hand injuries are visible. Common problems are:

  • Pain
  • Ripped skin
  • Skin loss
  • Open wounds
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Exposed bone or tendons
  • Amputation of the hand or fingers
Severe Hand Trauma
hand trauma
© Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


The doctor will examine the injury. Medicine may be given to block pain during the exam. Nerves and tendons of the hand will be tested.

Images will be taken to look for damage to the bones, nerves, tendons, and skin. This can be done with:

  • X-rays
  • CT scan



Emergency care will be needed. An IV will be started to give fluids and pain medicine.

The goals of treatment are to:

  • Stop bleeding
  • Manage pain
  • Repair damage to the hand

Ways to do this include:


Medicine will be given to ease or block pain during medical care. Antibiotics may be given to lower the risk of infection.

People who have not had a recent tetanus vaccination may be given one. It can help the body find and attack the bacteria.

Wound Irrigation

The wound will be flushed with water to help remove any debris that may be trapped in it. This will help prevent infection.

Hand Surgery

Less severe injury will be dressed and splinted. A surgical plan can be made later.

Surgery may be needed right away for severe injury. The goal is to repair as much damage as possible. Surgery may help a person be able to use the hand again. Many surgeries are often needed for this type of injury.


Rehab can help a person get back movement in the hand. It can also help a person adapt if there are some limits to hand movement. Rehab may include:

  • Physical therapy to help with movement
  • Occupational therapy to learn how to do daily tasks and self care


To lower the risk of this problem:

  • Do not use machinery that is unfamiliar.
  • Follow all safety instructions when using tools or machinery. Be especially careful when using snow blowers and lawn mowers.
  • Do not put fingers or hands near moving parts of machinery.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.