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Lacerations

Jul 04, 2022

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A laceration or a cut is a skin wound. They are typically caused by sharp objects or even animal bites.

If you have a skin cut you may need to have it repaired. The process includes washing and cleaning the wound, providing local anestesia and closing the wound.

HOW DO I KNOW I NEED TO HAVE MY LACERATION/CUT REPAIRED?

In general smaller, superficial and clean wounds can be treated at home with washing and antibiotic ointment followed by a bandaid.

Sometimes this may not be sufficient and a formal laceration repair by a medical profesional maybe needed. 

Situations where a medical profesional is needed may include:

1. Cuts, lacerations in sensitive, cosmetic areas like the face, where a minimal scar is expected. 

2. Cuts, wounds that are contaminated with debri and foreign material.

3. Deeper cuts, when there are structures like muscles or tendons exposed.

4. Deeper cuts with a lot of bleeding.

5. Most animal bites, since those need to be cleaned well and repaired in a way that leaves a minimal scar.

6. Any uneven lacerations where there is skin missing.

 

3(THREE)THINGS TO DO IMMEDIATELY AFTER YOU GET A LACERATION 

1. Apply direct pressure over the wound using gauze, a piece of cloth or your hand.

2. Wash the wound with clean running water after bleeding has stopped.

3. If bleeding has not stopped do not remove the gauze or cloth, add more. Avoid using a tourniquet. Seek medical attention.

TREATMENT OPTIONS

At PSAOLI we offer the following options:

1. Steristrips and/or Dermabond

Steristrips are small adhesive strips that can be used to close smaller and shallow wounds. They fall off in about a week.

Dermabond is a special skin glue that holds the skin together and comes off after approximately a week.

2. Sutures/Stiches

We use sutures for deeper wounds, to control bleeding or for cuts in cosmetic/aesthetic areas like the face where a minimal scar is required.

Depending on the location and depth of the cut we may use several layers of sutures, including stiches under the skin. The deeper ones will be absorbed by your own body.

For the face we typically remove the sutures in 5-7 days. For some areas like the lips, absorbable stiches maybe used. These fall off in about a week

3. Staples

We typically use staples for scalp lacerations as they do not interfere with normal hair growth. Other areas where staples maybe used include the torso, arms or legs. Staples are typically removed after 2 weeks.

 

LACERATION REPAIR WITH SUTURES. WHAT TO EXPECT.

After we evaluate the laceration we will discuss with you different treament options.

If repairing with sutures is chosen then we will inquire about your medical history and your allergies. 

Depending on the nature of the wound we will ask you about Tetanus vaccination. You may require a tetanus booster.

Local anestesia may be used for smaller wounds. The numbing effect typically lasts for about 5 hours.

For very rare situations and very large wounds, General Anestesia may be needed. If that is the case, the repair has to be done at a local hospital where one of our providers will meet you.

After local anesthesia is given, we typically wash the wound with betadine and sterile normal saline and proceed with the repair. 

Dressings will be placed and specific instructions will be given to you.

You maybe given a presciption for antibiotics after the repair.

RECOVERY

We typically ask you the keep the wound dry for 48 hours. Depending on the size and location of your wound you will be given specific instructions about bathing.

We will see you again in the office after a week to evaluate the wound.

Facial sutures are removed in 5-7 days while sutures or staples in other parts of your body in about 2 weeks.

SCARRING.

All lacerations heal with a scar. 

We at PSAOLI use special techniques to minimize the scar. 

You will be given scar instructions that are specific to your case.

In general, we advise against exposure of the wound to the sun as this can cause hyperpigmentation to the healing scar.  We will advise using specific scar creams and other products.

WHAT TO WATCH AFTER REPAIR

Let us know in case:

1. You see redness, drainage, swelling, increasing pain or bleeding at your wound.

2. You develop fevers or chills.

3. Your wound re-opens.

4. If you have any concerns.