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Caution: Handle TCA With Care to Avoid Chemical Burns

Case report of gynecologist accidentally exposed to trichloroacetic acid illustrates teaching points

FRIDAY, July 10, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Gynecologists should be aware that accidental exposure to trichloroacetic acid, which is used in routine procedures, may lead to serious chemical burns, according to a case report published in the August issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Michael Sosin, M.D., of the New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues describe the case of a 32-year-old female gynecologist who sustained a deep, second-degree chemical burn after she unintentionally spilled a container filled with about 20 ml of trichloroacetic acid onto her right thigh during an outpatient procedure.

The researchers report that the physician quickly removed the soaked clothing, irrigated with soap and cold water for five minutes, and applied petroleum-based ointment to the burn site. Topical silver sulfadiazine cream was applied twice daily, and the burn site was covered with silver-impregnated silicone foam dressing and a circumferential soft bandage. At nine-month follow-up, the physician had a well-healed wound with return of sensation at the burn site.

“Although gynecologists do not typically treat burns, the routine use of trichloroacetic acid in the gynecology office should prompt the practitioner to become familiar with first aid and treatment if exposed to the chemical agent,” the authors write.

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