High velocity missile injury. An experimental study of the retentive forces of tissue

Joseph J. Amato*, Lawrence J. Billy, Noel S. Lawson, Norman M. Rich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Wound ballistics is defined as the study of the motion of missiles within the tissues. To understand tissue destruction we must realize that the severity of injury depends on an intricate balance of the action of the missile and the reaction of the tissues. The mass, shape, and velocity of the bullet and the change in presented area are the major factors that render destruction to the tissues. Our studies of the mechanism of injury to various tissues such as the muscle, liver, lungs, and bone have demonstrated graphically the formation of a temporary cavity within these tissues and the sequence of events that occur within these isolated tissues. The size of the temporary cavity is proportionate to the specific gravity of the tissues and to the severity of the injury. However, the elasticity and cohesiveness of the tissue counteract the expansion of the wound tract and absorb the deposition of kinetic energy by the missile. The tissues with a more cohesive structure and with large amounts of elastic tissue consequently demonstrate a greater resistance to injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-459
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1974


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