The Irish Association of Plastic Surgeons has taken the opportunity of the publicity surrounding biting this week to warn of the consequences of serious biting.
AMID THE ONGOING controversy over Liverpool star striker Luis Suarez having a nibble at Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic’s arm last weekend, plastic surgeons have said there are a growing number of severe bites being treated in Ireland ever year.
Plastic surgeons are tending to on average 15 to 20 biting incidents a month according to the Irish Association of Plastic Surgeons (IAPS) with the vast majority of incidents linked to alcohol.
New Year’s Day has been dubbed ‘New Ears Day’ in some emergency wards due to the jump in malicious bites at that time of year.
“Bites and biting are no laughing matter,” IAPS president Dr Patricia Eadie warned.”The injuries we see are often truly horrific with entire ears bitten off, noses, finger tips and even lips.
“Whereas we can often reattach a severed fingertip if it has been cut with a clean instrument like a knife the nature of a bite means that it’s almost always impossible to reattach the bitten body parts, leaving a very ugly injury.”
Dr Eadie claimed that one injury can cost the public exchequer up to €10,000 to repair “as best as possible” with as many as four operations required in particularly vulnerable and visible areas, particularly the nose.
She said that the survey which found that up to 200 biting incidents are treated in a year means that it would cost a total of €2 million a year.
“Our members tell us that the vast majority of cases are directly related to alcohol where extremely inebriated people start fighting,” she said.
“At this point rational thinking has long been forgotten about but people should remember that human bites can be more dangerous than most animal bites.”
IAPS warned that germs in some human mouths can cause infections that make it harder to treat the injury.
Dr Eadie added: “Our advice to those affected is to get to hospital as quickly as possible with any body parts they can find, wrapped in a damp cloth. Surgeons will then determine the best reconstruction possible.”
Meanwhile Liverpool have until midday today to appeal the 10 game ban handed to Suarez by the English Football Association for last weekend’s biting incident.