Laceration refers to a jagged or torn wound that involves separation of the connective tissue. The skin is separated in this case, unlike an abrasion where the skin is actually missing. Lacerations are typically caused due to blunt trauma such as a collision, fall, or a blow.
Cuts with sharp objects and lacerations fall under a similar category. The term gash may be used when the laceration is longer or deeper. Bleeding is common in the case of a laceration, and other concerns include pain, damage to skin’s underlying structures, infection, and future scars.
Minor instances of lacerations can be treated with self-care at home. The first step should be to stop bleeding by applying direct pressure over the wound, and allowing the affected area to remain in a rested and elevated position. Cleaning the wound with mild soap and water will cut down the risk of bacterial infection. Sterile gauze bandage along with an over the counter antibiotic ointment can help prevent infection and allow faster healing.
In case of more severe lacerations, medical attention may be necessary to stop the bleeding. If the laceration has occurred on the face or other sensitive areas of the body, medical attention should be sought anyway. The physician may give medication to numb the area during treatment. This may be done using a topical anesthetic or an injection directly into the wound. Patient’s discomfort and pain will disappear with local anesthetic and the doctor may sew or treat the wound appropriately.
Cleaning the Wound
In minor or major lacerations, cleaning is the most crucial aspect of wound care. If ignored, it can cause severe complications to the wound later on. Cleaning can be performed by first washing the surrounding skin with mild soap and water. Crusted blood around the wound can be cleaned with diluted hydrogen peroxide. The next step will involve irrigation of the affected area with a saline solution under high pressure to minimize bacterial contamination in the wound.
Closing the Wound
Minor lacerations and cuts can be closed using medicated adhesive tapes or tissue glue. Tissue glue acts as a barrier against bacterial microbes. If the patient is allergic to adhesive tape, he or she should inform the doctor before treatment. A deeper laceration may require stitches to close the deep underlying structures, such as the connective tissue around a muscle that may have been exposed.