Scientific article| Volume 42, ISSUE 5, P385.e1-385.e8, May 2017

Severe Hand Injuries From Fireworks: Injury Patterns, Outcomes, and Fireworks Types

Published:March 21, 2017DOI:


      The purpose of this study was to characterize injury patterns and outcomes of fireworks-related hand injuries and determine if there was an association with certain fireworks types.


      A retrospective cohort study was conducted on patients treated at a trauma center between 2005 and 2015. A total of 105 patients sustaining operative hand injuries due to fireworks were identified. Medical records were reviewed to identify injury patterns, treatment outcomes, and fireworks types.


      Eighty-eight patients (84%) sustained 92 thumb and/or first web space injuries. There were 12 thumb soft tissue–only injuries (13%) and 80 thumb fractures/dislocations (87%). Of these, there were 52 thumb carpometacarpal (CMC) joint dislocations (57%) and 36 thumb fractures outside the thumb CMC joint (39%). Fifteen hands (16%) sustained both thumb CMC joint dislocations and additional thumb fractures. Twenty-three hands (25%) required thumb revision amputation. The number of surgeries for acute reconstruction ranged from 1 to 7, with 17 patients (19%) requiring 3 or more. Sixty-three hands had deep first web space injuries, and 11 (17%) required flaps acutely for first web space reconstruction. Six hands required secondary reconstruction of a first web space contracture. An external fixator was applied to 6 hands to maintain the first web space; none of these required secondary web reconstruction. Excluding isolated pin removals and dressing changes under anesthesia, 19 patients (22%) required later-stage surgeries. Shells/mortars (59%) were the most common fireworks type causing injury.


      Among operative hand injuries, fireworks most commonly fracture the thumb, destabilize the thumb CMC joint, and deeply damage the first web space. The first web space requires particular consideration because deep injury may result in adduction contracture and require secondary reconstruction if not prevented.

      Type of study/level of evidence

      Therapeutic IV.

      Key words

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