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Nearly everyone has experienced a cut — also known as a laceration. Most cuts are minor, but some lacerations are serious enough to require professional medical treatment. A gash is a deep cut involving tearing of skin and deeper tissue. A stab is a penetration wound. Penetration wounds always require medical attention, while lacerations should be evaluated to determine whether or not they require stitches to promote healing and minimize scarring.
Skilled emergency doctors at Dignity Health provide the latest care to treat stab wounds, gashes, and lacerations in Arizona. For urgent medical care, call 9-1-1 or visit your nearest ER.
If you need to go to the ER, use our InQuicker™ online tool to select your estimated hospital arrival time and wait at home until your time to be seen. Upon arrival and check-in, you will see a doctor who will assess your situation and determine the next appropriate level of care.
Penetration wounds, gashes, and lacerations require specialized care to stop bleeding, repair any underlying tissue or internal organ damage, promote healing, and avoid complications such as infection.
Emergency and other health care providers recommend immediate medical attention for stab, gash, or laceration care in these situations:
You also should seek medical care if you are unsure of whether or not your tetanus booster is up to date.
After the initial examination, doctors will assign a treatment team to provide care, depending on the seriousness of the wound. Imaging tests, such as an X-ray or a CT scan, may be necessary to determine whether or not organs, nerves, or other important structures have been damaged.
Serious penetration wounds may require surgery to repair the damage and close the wound. However, common lacerations and gashes may only need suturing (stitches).
Before you go home, your Dignity Health care team will work with you to make sure you understand how to care for your wound. You will be told when to remove the initial dressing, when and how to cleanse the wound, whether or not to apply antibiotic ointment, when to return to the office for suture removal, and more. You may receive a prescription for pain medications to keep you comfortable in the first few days following the trauma. You may need assistance to care for a wound you cannot easily see or reach.
Because wounds can become infected, report to your health care provider any unusual symptoms, including fever and localized redness accompanied by heat or pain that gets worse instead of better. Most stab and gash wounds heal without complications.