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Laptop computers are an uncommon source of burns to the thighs and perineum. Burns can result from the prolonged contact of hot surfaces at the base of the computer with the user's lap. The authors report a case of second-degree burns to the thigh of an otherwise healthy patient that resulted from prolonged use of the laptop. We measured the temperatures of the patient's computer and the temperatures of other popular laptop computers. Laptops can develop temperatures that can pose a risk for burns if the skin is exposed for prolonged periods of time. Patients with impaired lower extremity sensation, altered consciousness, or decreased mobility are at higher risk for laptop burns. To their knowledge, this is the first case report of such a burn injury in the American literature.


Karina Paulius, Phyllis Napoles, Pirko Maguina. Thigh burn associated with laptop computer use. Journal of burn care & research : official publication of the American Burn Association. 2008 Sep-Oct;29(5):842-4

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PMID: 18695609

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