Degloving injuries

Degloving injuries

Fact Checked

Degloving or avulsion is a serious form of injury that occurs if the upper skin layers and tissues are ripped apart from the underlying muscle, bone or connective tissue.

The injury can affect any part of the body but likely to occur in the legs. Remember that degloving injuries are often dangerous due to significant loss of blood and tissue death.

What are the types?


Generally, this type of injury occurs if there is tearing of the skin and tissues and exposing the muscle, bone or connective tissue. Furthermore, the commonly affected areas include the torso, legs, scalp and face.

The injury is typically brought about by the following:

  • Sports injuries
  • Vehicular accidents
  • Animal bites
  • Falls from heights


With this type of degloving, it is not always visible. In some instances, it can cause a bruise, but this is the only evident sign.

Generally, in most cases, it involves a force that separates the upper skin and tissue layer from the deeper tissues, leaving a space beneath the skin. In addition, the injury typically occurs at the upper region of the hip bone in the greater trochanter.

Degloving injuries
The treatment for degloving injuries is based on the type, seriousness and site of injury.

Management of degloving injuries

The treatment for degloving injuries is based on the type, seriousness and site of injury. The injury might be accompanied by other serious forms of trauma such as a fracture that require medical care.

Open injury

The treatment for this form of degloving injury includes:

  • At first, reattachment of the skin
  • Reattachment of the toe or finger
  • Skin grafting using skin from other body parts
  • Lastly, amputation

Overall, these options require several surgeries and the individual should stay in the healthcare facility for days or weeks.

Closed injury

For a minor case, the treatment includes a combination of rest, compression bandages and physical therapy.

Consequently, as for severe cases, the commonly used treatment options include:

  • Drainage of any fluid buildup from the lesion
  • Removal of the dead tissue
  • Lastly, sclerotherapy involves the administration of drugs into the blood vessels to make them shrivel

What is the outlook?

Generally, degloving injuries are considered serious and even deadly. Prompt treatment is vital in preventing infections. In most cases, the treatment typically involves an extended stay in a healthcare facility and several surgical procedures, followed by months of physical therapy.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on degloving injuries is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the signs and how it is managed by taking a standard first aid course with Victoria First Aid.


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