Deep Cuts / Lacerations

Lacerations are cuts or tears in the skin that expose the underlying fat, muscle or bone. In general cuts from a sharp object heal quicker and have a smaller scar. All lacerations cause a scar.

The first step is to exclude injury to underlying structures, such as a broken bone, cut ligament or cut artery. Bleeding can usually be controlled with direct pressure. Ligaments will require surgical repair. A bone may need reduction.

Early closure reduces the risk of infection. First aid includes direct pressure to limit bleeding, soap and water to clean the wound, and a dressing and tape to close the edges. Lacerations open over 24 hours should not be closed with sutures due to the high rate of infection.

In the office, local anesthesia is used to place sutures.

The use of antibiotics is controversial. Bites are always treated with antibiotics. Otherwise, the type of wound and its location on the body will determine the use of antibiotics

All wounds can become infected. Watch for increased swelling or redness, increased pain, warmth, or drainage from the suture line. Recheck with your Physician immediately if you develop these signs.

The tetanus vaccine should be updated if your last one was over ten years ago. A puncture wound or wounds in soil are updated at 5 years.

The wound should be OK for 24 hours in the dressing applied at the Clinic. Remove and wash 2 times a day with warm soap and water. Allow the area to air dry before replacing the dressing.

Sutures are removed from the face in 5 days, inactive areas in 7, and active areas, the soles, and palms in 10-12 days.

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