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On a knife-edge: clinical uncertainty with an extensive knife blade in situ in the craniofacial region


A 25-year-old man presented to the trauma department following a penetrating stab wound to his left infraorbital margin with retained knife blade causing superoposterior displacement of the globe. Plain skull X-ray revealed an extensive retained blade with subsequent CT imaging revealing the tip of the blade had reached the right styloid process with no neurovascular compromise. Initial concern was primarily for the left eye leading to ophthalmology being the first specialty requested to review the patient. However, once the extent of the injury was established, ophthalmology requested further review from maxillofacial, ENT and neurosurgery. This resulted in an 84 hours wait between the initial injury and the removal of the knife blade. Incredibly, the patient had no initial sequelae from such an extensive injury and had an unremarkable recovery with no further complications aside from a laceration to the left inferior rectus muscle that was conservatively managed.

  • emergency medicine
  • trauma
  • ophthalmology
  • oral and maxillofacial surgery

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