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Taser barb penetration causing phalangeal fracture


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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