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Taser barb penetration causing phalangeal fracture
  1. Cynthia de Courcey1 and
  2. Matthew A Jones2
  1. 1Department of Plastic Surgery, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, Coventry, UK
  2. 2Trauma and Orthopaedics, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, Coventry, UK
  1. Correspondence to Matthew A Jones; matthew.jones2{at}


We present an unusual case of phalangeal fracture resulting from direct penetration by the barb of a conducted electrical weapon (Taser). When a Taser is triggered, compressed gas propels two barbs with trailing insulated wires which deliver a pulsed electrical discharge on contact. A 51-year-old man presented with a single barb of the Taser embedded in the diaphysis of the proximal phalanx and an associated open fracture. The barb was removed under local anaesthesia. The fracture was stable and was mobilised in a flexible splint. Oral antibiotics were commenced in recognition of the risk of flexor sheath and bone inoculation. While the most severe complications associated with Taser are related to the electrical component, the most common injuries are associated with falls and barb penetrations. Clinicians must be mindful of the risk of fracture, infection and soft tissue injury when such a foreign body penetrates a phalanx.

  • trauma
  • orthopaedics
  • orthopaedic and trauma surgery
  • plastic and reconstructive surgery

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  • Contributors Both authors have contributed substantially to the conception of the manuscript, reviewed and approved the final version for publication, acted as guarantors (accountable for all aspects of the manuscript), and were both directly involved in the treatment and management of the patient in this case. CdC undertook the literature research and initial drafting of the manuscript. MAJ undertook critical revision of the manuscript. As a case report, MAJ identified the case as worthy for publication.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.