Lacerations

A laceration is a wound that is produced by the tearing of soft body tissue. This type of wound is often irregular and jagged. A laceration wound is often contaminated with bacteria and debris from whatever object caused the cut

Ideally, a doctor or nurse should clean wounds that are large, deep, or dirty, and abrasions caused by gravel. There is a risk of infection, and also a risk of permanent tattooing of the skin from gravel, dirt, grit, etc., which remain in a wound. Wounds longer than 5 cm or which involve deeper tissues than the skin may need stitches. If part of the wound has dead or damaged skin then this may need to be trimmed or removed to prevent infection developing in it. If you suspect the cut has damaged deeper tissues such as nerves, tendons, or joints. Wounds caused by penetrating glass, metal, etc., may need to be carefully examined, and may need an X-ray to check that there is nothing left inside. Gaping wounds should be closed with stitches, glue, or sticky tape. All wounds of the face should be seen by a doctor immediately in order to keep scarring to a minimum.

You should have a tetanus booster if you are not up to date with your immunizations.

What are the causes of Lacerations?

Lacerations are caused when an object strikes the skin and causes a breakage of the skin. Depending on a variety of characteristics (angle, force, depth, object), some lacerations can be more serious than others, reaching as far as deep tissue and leading to serious bleeding.

What are the symptoms of Lacerations?

The predominant symptoms of lacerations are mild to serious breaking of the epidermis, tears in the first layer of skin that can range from small slices to deep gashes. Depending on the depth of the laceration, there can be bleeding of different levels of severity. Mild lacerations may experience brief bleeding accompanied by mild pain. Deeper lacerations will experience greater bleeding and more intense pain.

How are Lacerations treated?

As is the first step in most injuries to the skin, cleaning the wound is of utmost importance as to stave off infection and inflammation. For mild lacerations, the use of a topical ointment, such as Neosporin, is recommended, as is the application of a basic bandage. For deeper wounds, as in those that affect the tissue beneath the skin and experience heavier bleeding, attention from a medical professional should be required, as the wound will likely need to be closed with stitches, staples or even sutures.

As with minor lacerations, while waiting for medical attention with more serious wounds, it is imperative to clean the wound first and then apply pressure with a clean bandage to limit bleeding as much as possible.