Nigerian Journal of Plastic Surgery

: 2017  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 61--63

A rare case of cell phone blast injury to the hand

Prashant Moon 
 Krishna Hospital and Research Centre, Haldwani, Uttarakhand, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Prashant Moon
OPD 6, Krishna Hospital and Research Centre, Guru Nanak Pura Haldwani, Nainital Road, Haldwani 263141, Uttarakahand


Mobile blast injuries are increasing in recent times specifically in India. This increase in incidence in recent times is attributed mostly to the usage of cheap, low-quality phone and battery as well as the use of the mobile phone while charging. We are reporting the case of a 10-year-old boy who had met with a mobile phone blast injury to the right hand while he was playing a mobile game during charging. We will also discuss measures to prevent such injury.

How to cite this article:
Moon P. A rare case of cell phone blast injury to the hand.Nigerian J Plast Surg 2017;13:61-63

How to cite this URL:
Moon P. A rare case of cell phone blast injury to the hand. Nigerian J Plast Surg [serial online] 2017 [cited 2024 Mar 2 ];13:61-63
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Cell phone blast injuries are increasing rapidly in India. Most cheap models, such as those of Chinese make, use hardware and components that are not branded and often substandard. The quality of vital accessories such as battery and earphones are compromised, which can have disastrous outcome.[1]

These injuries represent a wide spectrum of wounds ranging from a simple laceration to amputation and leading to catastrophic physical trauma and complications.[3]


A 10-year-old boy met with an accident when playing with a mobile in his right hand while the mobile was on charge. The mobile phone had exploded in the right hand of the patient. The patient was presented in the casualty department 4 h after the injury. On examination, the patient was conscious, and his vitals were stable. On local examination of his hand, there was partial amputation of the right middle finger and near total amputation of the right ring finger. The injury extended to the palmar and dorsal areas [Figure 1]. The patient had minimal injury on the chest and face. Initial laboratory and radiological investigations were performed. The patient was shifted to an operation theatre for initial debridement and the fixation of the second and fourth rays with K-wire. The ring finger was amputated. There was raw area over the dorsal and volar aspects of the hand and index finger. After 48 h, wide redebridement and the coverage of soft tissue defect was performed with a right free anterolateral flap [Figure 2]. The flap was harvested from the left thigh. Flap donor artery was anastomosed with the right radial artery in an end-to-side fashion. Two vena commitants of the flap were anastomosed with the right radial artery vena commitants. The patient developed venous congestion of the flap on the 4th postoperative day, which was managed with a revision of anastomosis in the vein. The remaining postoperative period was uneventful.{Figure 1}{Figure 2}

The patient was discharged on the 10th postoperative day. K-wire was removed after 3 weeks. The small raw area over the index finger was managed with dressing [Figure 3]. Physiotherapy was started after 3 weeks.{Figure 3}


Injury because of mobile usage though rare is devastating for the patient and family. The usage of mobile phones has increased many folds in India. Consequently, the explosion of mobiles is emerging as a new mode of hand injury.

The most common reasons for a cell phone to explode are using it while the phone is being charged and “call bombing.”[3]

Charging puts pressure on the motherboard of the phone; using it during charging increases this pressure manifold. This causes cheap electronic components in some mobiles to explode.

Call bombing refers to calls or missed calls received from international numbers. If one receives or returns the call and the call exceeds a certain amount of time, the phone will blast.[3],[4]

Because cell phone batteries are becoming thinner, there is less room available to keep the positive and negative plates in the battery apart, which is the most probable reason for the explosion of mobile battery.[4]

The mechanism of injury on mobile phone explosion combines blast wave injury, penetrating blunt injury by the components of mobile, and burn mechanisms.[5] The holding of mobile in the hand involves the primary action of gripping by the thumb and ulnar fingers (the ring and little fingers), whereas the index and middle fingers stabilize the grip. Therefore, when an explosion occurs with a mobile in hand, the centrifugal force of blast wave transfers primarily to the palm and supporting finger (the middle and ring fingers). Secondarily, it transfers to the thenar eminences.[6]

The following are some precautions to be taken while using a cell phone:Avoid carrying your cell phone on your body at all times.Do not keep it near your body at night such as under a pillow or a bedside table, particularly if pregnant.You can also put it on “flight” or “offline” mode, which stops electromagnetic emissions.Avoid using your cell phone when signal is weak or when moving at high speed, such as in car or train.Always buy standard battery and charger. Avoid using duplicate mobile parts.Never charge your phone overnight; instead, charge your phone when awake.While communicating using your cell phone, try to keep the cell phone away from the body, as this would reduce the strength of the radiations’ electromagnetic field.Whenever possible, use the speakerphone mode or a wireless Bluetooth headset. For long conversations, use a landline phone.[2],[3],[4]This case signifies the need to increase public awareness about the potential risks associated with cell phone use, the adoption of safe practices as per recommendations from the manufacturers, and the avoidance of counterfeit products to avoid such accidents.[7]

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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