30 Jan Why are Finger Lacerations so Dangerous?
The term “laceration” is pretty broad, and includes any injury where the skin, muscle, or tissue is cut open. Lacerations might be long, short, narrow, wide, deep, or shallow. Technically, everything from a paper cut to a major tear in the skin is considered a laceration, and at Mend Clinic we’ve seen all types. Repairing a laceration requires proper cleaning and closing of the wound.
Types of Lacerations
Minor lacerations, such as a papercut, might not bleed at all. Many times, they don’t demand medical attention. Cleaning the wound, an antibiotic ointment, and a bandage might be sufficient. However, if you’re not certain about the severity, it’s always safest to get a laceration checked at urgent care. Proper, medical cleaning is the best way to prevent infection and minimize scarring.
More severe lacerations might require sutures (stitches). Sutures close wounds with jagged edges, that are deep and bleeding, or that have fat/muscle exposed. It starts by cleaning the wound with iodine, and sutures might be required under the skin to join muscle and tissue as well as on the more superficial layer of skin. The deeper stitches are naturally absorbed by the body and don’t require removal.
Treatment for Lacerations
Lacerations can lead to various types of open wounds, such as incisions, irregular tears, abrasions, punctures, penetration wounds, and even gunshot wounds. The exact treatment depends on the type and severity of the wound. However, the three primary steps are always the same: Examination, cleaning, and closing. If a laceration occurred in the past and infection has set in, additional steps—such as antibiotic treatments—may be needed. Puncture wounds are especially prone to infection because of how deep they may be.
Even small lacerations can lead to serious complications if they aren’t properly treated. For instance, cellulitis can be painful and even deadly, and all it requires is a tiny opening into the bloodstream.