Facial plast Surg 2010; 26(6): 456-463
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1267720
© Thieme Medical Publishers

Management of Bite Wounds in the Head and Neck

Bryan T. Ambro1 , Richard J. Wright1 , Ryan N. Heffelfinger2
  • 1Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Otorhinolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Deparment of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
17 November 2010 (online)


An estimated 50% of people in the United States will incur an animal or human bite wound at least once in their lifetimes. Although the majority of these individuals do not seek medical attention, bite wounds to the head and neck are a common reason for emergency department visits. Facial bites are complex injuries due to the functional and cosmetic nature of the area, as well as the unique polymicrobial infection potential that exists. We present a review of the epidemiology and microbiology of bite injuries to the head and neck and provide evidence-based recommendations regarding surgical wound closure and antibiotic therapy.