Penetrating injury with an arrow impacted in the neck in rural Tanzania, a case report

Allyzain Ismail, Neelam Ismail, Athar Ali, Rashid Mayoka, Winfrid Gingo, Fassil Gebreegziabher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Introduction and importance: Penetrating neck injuries refer to neck injuries that penetrate through the platysma layer which can cause life-threatening injuries to the aerodigestive and neurovascular systems. Currently penetrating neck injuries are mainly due to modern firearms however penetrating neck injuries due to arrows are still seen, although rare, in rural areas among developing countries. Management depends on hemodynamic stability, signs of structural damage and zone of neck involved. Case presentation: 19-year-old male presenting with a penetrating arrow impacted in his neck following an attack by cattle raiders who was otherwise stable of presentation. Underwent preoperative imaging with removal of the arrow under general anaesthesia via surgical exploration. Clinical discussion: We concur with the recommendation to first obtain adequate imaging to establish degree of injury as well as for operative planning. Removal of impacted arrow should not be carried out blindly but rather in a controlled environment under general anaesthesia via surgical exploration. Conclusion: Penetrative arrow injuries to the neck are an archaic problem that can be dealt with via modern surgical principles towards penetrating neck injuries. Unstable patients warrant emergent exploration however stable patients can first be worked up appropriately to ascertain degree of injury. Impacted arrows can then be removed safely under general anaesthesia rather than risk further injury to critical structures via blind removal.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107133
JournalInternational Journal of Surgery Case Reports
Publication statusPublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Arrow impacted
  • Case report
  • Penetrating neck injury
  • Surgical exploration


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