Fast Five Quiz: Test Your Knowledge on Key Aspects of Human Bite Wounds

Richard H. Sinert, DO


April 02, 2018

Radiography may be useful, particularly in hand injuries or over bone, to reveal fractures, foreign bodies, or air within a joint. If history indicates that a tooth was broken during the incident, an x-ray may be indicated to examine for it. Radiography of chronic wounds may reveal underlying osteomyelitis. In closed fist injuries, an underlying metacarpal head fracture is possible. If such a fracture is identified radiographically, the clinician should strongly consider emergent consultation with a hand surgeon in such cases, as there is a high potential for an adverse outcome.

Routine culture of all human bite wounds is unnecessary because such testing is costly, demonstrates no growth in more than 80% of cases, and rarely alters first-line therapy. If possible, obtain cultures prior to the initiation of antimicrobial therapy.

If obtained, aerobic and anaerobic cultures may take 7-10 days to identify slow-growing pathogens. This may be used for quantification and identification of bacterial species and their antibiotic susceptibilities.

For more on the workup of human bite wounds, read here.


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