Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Evaluation Treatment specialist Underlying Cause Types

Bullet Wounds Underlying Cause

Wounds from bullets are caused by the energy of the bullet as it strikes the body. The more energy the bullet possesses, the more severe the injury. Energy increases with the speed of the bullet and the weight of the bullet.

Generally, a large bullet shot from a high-powered rifle causes greater injury than a smaller bullet shot from a handgun. The severity of the injury also depends on the shape of the bullet as it strikes the body.

Bullets that increase the severity of injury include:

  • Hollow point bullets:
    • The bullet deforms into a larger shape as it strikes the target
  • Soft point bullets:
    • The bullet deforms into a larger shape as it strikes the target
  • Fragmentation:
    • The bullet breaks apart upon impact, spreading out as it strikes the target

Continue to Bullet Wounds Types

Last Updated: Mar 18, 2009 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Bullet Wounds References
  1. Adibe OO, Caruso RP, Swan KG. Gunshot wounds: bullet caliber is increasing, 1998-2003. Am Surg. 2004 Apr;70(4):322-5. [15098785]
  2. Bakir A, Temiz C, Umur S, Aydin V, Torun F. High-velocity gunshot wounds to the head: analysis of 135 patients. Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo). 2005 Jun;45(6):281-7. [15973060]
  3. Kiehn MW, Mitra A, Gutowski KA. Fracture management of civilian gunshot wounds to the hand. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2005 Feb;115(2):478-81. [15692353]
  4. Pryor JP, Reilly PM, Dabrowski GP, Grossman MD, Schwab CW. Nonoperative management of abdominal gunshot wounds. Ann Emerg Med. 2004 Mar;43(3):344-53. [14985662]
  5. Snyder AK, Chen LE, Foglia RP, Dillon PA, Minkes RK. An analysis of pediatric gunshot wounds treated at a Level I pediatric trauma center. J Trauma. 2003 Jun;54(6):1102-6. [12813329]
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