A laceration is a part on the body that has been severed of the skin. It can be characterized by mild bleeding or redness. Sometimes a laceration is an irregular or jagged wound caused by a cut with a sharp or blunt object. It is characterized by bleeding and sometimes the nerve endings, muscle or the bone could be visible in the wound.
- Signs and Symptoms
Although all wounds are painful, the level of pain is different for different types of lacerations. It can cause just a little amount pain or sometimes very painful. The area severed on the skin could experience a little bleeding or none at all. At other times, the damaged nerve endings and muscle tissues could be visible in a cut.
Physical examination for a laceration will include separating the edges of the wound to check on it, as well as checking for embedded materials, measuring blood pressure, checking the overall condition of the patient. It may also include testing for muscle, artery and nerve functioning before surgery or treatment starts. An MRI, CT, ultrasound or X-ray may also be recommended to check and locate materials that may still be lodged into the wound.
A superficial laceration is easier and simple to treat; you could wash with water and soap to keep germ infections at bay. You could also clean the wound by use of hydrogen peroxide after which you should get a tetanus shot, to avoid infections. You could also cover with a bandage to ensure that bacteria and germs do not enter the wound. Most cuts heal by themselves and you do not necessarily have to see a doctor for a cut treatment. You can do this right at home, using the first aid kit.
On the other hand, a deep laceration is treated by applying pressure on the wound to stop bleeding followed by cleaning to remove dirt and debris. After this, antibiotics are administered and the wound may covering using staples, medical strips, stitches and tissue glue. A tetanus shot is also advisable to avoid bacterial infection. A surgery may be needed if there are objects still lodged into the wound.
When to See a Healthcare Provider
For a superficial laceration it is not really a requirement that you should see a doctor. However, if you have a pre-existing condition such as hemorrhage, diabetes and high blood pressure, it is advisable that you visit a healthcare provider. In addition, if the cut takes more than a week to heal or has pus, you should see the doctor right away.
With a deep laceration, it is advisable to see the doctor since this is hard to treat by yourself and requires specialized medical care. The doctor is trained to suture, put the strips on and perform surgeries to remove the objects still lodged into the wound if needed. Most importantly, if the bleeding does not stop, takes so long to heal, or the wound is discharging pus, then it is time to see your doctor.