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Open Access Highly Accessed Case report

Swordfish bill injury involving abdomen and vertebral column: case report and review

Despoina Georgiadou1*, George N Zografos1, Dennis Vaidakis1, Spiridon Avlonitis1, Angeliki Katopodi1, Emmanouil N Tzirakis1, Panagiotis Sioutos2, Charalambos Drossos3, Penelope Lampropoulou3 and George Papastratis1

Author affiliations

1 3rd Surgical Clinic of George Gennimatas General Hospital, Mesogeion Ave 154, 156 69 Athens, Greece

2 Department of Neurosurgery of George Gennimatas General Hospital, Mesogeion Ave 154, 156 69 Athens, Greece

3 Department of Radiology of George Gennimatas General Hospital, Mesogeion Ave 154, 156 69 Athens, Greece

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Citation and License

BMC Surgery 2010, 10:30  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-10-30

Published: 22 October 2010

Abstract

Background

Penetrating injuries of the abdomen and spinal canal that involve organic material of animal origin are extremely rare and derive from domestic and wild animal attacks or fish attacks.

Case presentation

In this case report we present the unique, as far as the literature is concerned, unprovoked woman's injury to the abdomen by a swordfish. There are only four cases of swordfish attacks on humans in the literature - one resulted to thoracic trauma, two to head trauma and one to knee trauma, one of which was fatal - none of which were unprovoked. Three victims were professional or amateur fishermen whereas in the last reported case the victim was a bather as in our case. Our case is the only case where organic debris of animal's origin remained in the spinal canal after penetrating trauma.

Conclusions

Although much has been written about the management of penetrating abdominal and spinal cord trauma, controversy remains about the optimal management. Moreover, there is little experience in the management of patients with such spinal injuries, due to the fact that such cases are extremely rare. In this report we focus on the patient's treatment with regard to abdominal and spinal trauma and present a review of the literature.