Unusual primary and secondary facial blast injuries

Ilan Koren, Mordechai Shimonove, Yaacov Shvero, Raphael Feinmesser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To discuss unusual facial injuries resulting from a bomb blast. Materials and Methods: In March 1997, a bomb consisting of a bag of nails was detonated in a coffee shop in Tel Aviv. Two of the wounded were brought to our level 1 Trauma Center with unique facial injuries. Computed tomography (CT) scan and CT angiogram were performed. Results: The blast occurred to the immediate right of the victims who were sitting in an open cafe. Both had tympanic perforation. The first patient showed indirect damage to the facial nerve from a piece of shrapnel located anterior to the carotid artery and medial to the right mandibular angle. The second had a piece of shrapnel lodged in the parapharyngeal space that was initially missed and discovered only on reexamination 3 days later after the patient complained of pain in the temporomandibular joint; there was no facial nerve deficit. The port of entry was probably a small wound in the anterior wall of the external ear canal. Conclusions: The wounds are probably attributable to the spalling effect of the shrapnel passing through the parotid gland, which has mixed-density tissue. These cases show that nerves are susceptible to damage even in the absence of direct engagement and that the emergency room physician should be alert to even small skin imperfections in blast victims to avoid missing penetrating wounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-77
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


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