Scalp avulsion injuries

Scalp avulsion (“scalping” or “scalp degloving“) is a severe injury that occurs when the scalp is torn away from the skull. Our personal injury law practice has seen scalp avulsion and degloving injuries resulting from car and truck accidents, dog attacks, and industrial accidents.

scalp avulsion degloving scalping

In the case of a car or truck accident, scalp avulsion can occur when a person’s head is forcefully struck or dragged against a hard surface, such as the road, the car or truck itself, or another object. This can cause the skin, tissue, and hair on the scalp to be forcibly torn away from the skull.

The force of the impact and the direction of the movement can also contribute to scalp avulsion. For example, if a person’s head is thrown forward and then suddenly jerked back, the movement can cause the scalp to be torn away from the skull. This can also occur if a person’s hair gets caught in a moving part of the car or truck, such as a wheel or engine compartment.

A dog attack can cause scalp avulsion if the dog bites and tears off a portion of the scalp, typically at the crown of the head or around the hairline. This can result in a traumatic injury to the scalp, with tearing of the skin, subcutaneous tissue, and blood vessels, and may also involve damage to underlying muscles, bones, and nerves. We have had cases of dog attacks, usually involving pit bulls. In one case, a young girl walking to school in her neighborhood was attacked by two pit bulls that came out of their owner’s yard into the street, attacked the child, and ripped her scalp from her skull. It may be unfair to stereotype an entire breed of dogs, but too many vicious dog attacks are by pit bulls.

Any injury that includes scalp avulsion may also cause a traumatic brain injury.

Scalp avulsion is a serious injury that requires emergency medical attention. It can result in significant bleeding, damage to the underlying tissue and bone, and the potential for infection. Treatment may involve surgery to reimplant the scalp tissue, repair the damage and restore blood flow to the affected area.

If you or a loved one have suffered a scalp avulsion or degloving injury, call us at 404-253-7862.


Johnson & Ward has been a leading personal injury and wrongful death specialty law firm in Atlanta since 1949. The founders of the firm were also among the founders of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. Current partners include former presidents of the State Bar of Georgia and the Atlanta Bar Association.

Ken Shigley, senior counsel at Johnson & Ward, is a former president of the State Bar of Georgia (2011-12). He was the first Georgia lawyer to earn three board certifications from the National Board of Trial Advocacy (Civil Trial Advocacy, Civil Pretrial Advocacy, and Truck Accident Law). In 2019, he received the Traditions of Excellence Award for lifetime achievement. Mr. Shigley was the lead author of eleven editions of Georgia Law of Torts: Trial Preparation and Practice (Thomson Reuters, 2010-21). He graduated from Furman University and Emory University Law School.