fireworks and reconstructive surgery

Cosmetic surgeons stress the need for more graphic advertising on firework packaging

With fireworks night behind us for another year and many of us having enjoyed speculator light displays, there are unfortunately still reports every year of people sustaining terrible injuries through accidents and carelessness involving fireworks.

It has been reported that the number of injuries sustained in the UK by fireworks has been rising year on year – despite existing advertising campaigns that warn of the dangers, the problem is increasing. According to data from NHS Digital, “4,500 people in England attended A&E with injuries from fireworks last year, double the number in 2009-10.”

In response to this, cosmetic surgeons in the UK have called for more graphic images of injuries caused by fireworks, to be printed on firework packaging, reflecting the shocking imaging that has been printed on cigarette packs in recent years. The campaign is headed by the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) and supported by the Royal College of Surgeons and the British Society for Surgery of the Hand.

Understanding the seriousness of the problem

A spokesperson for BAPRAS explains why there is a growing concern amongst medical professionals about injuries sustained through the use (and misuse) or fireworks: “We are extremely concerned about the continued misuse of fireworks, particularly by those under the age of 18 away from organised events.  Although [fireworks are] packaged in a jovial, toy-like fashion, people forget that when using fireworks, they are handling explosives which can cause extremely serious injuries that may require extensive reconstructive surgery.”

Up to plastic surgeons to fix it

In the wake of firework injuries, can often come months of surgery to try and correct the damage that has been done. One of the images BAPRAS wants to use in its campaign shows the hand of a young man whose fingers were seriously damaged by a rocket that landed close to his feet.

He is undergoing months of treatment to reconstruct his damaged fingers but describes his injuries as life-altering. He can no longer eat and drink as he used to, nor can he play properly with his newborn child. Despite the advances in medical technology in repairing damaged limbs and helping visually reconstruct body parts after injuries such as this, plastic surgeons feel a lot more can be done to raise awareness and to adopt more preventative measures, rather than having to correct injuries once they have occurred.