Laceration is the medical term for a cut that breaks or tears the skin. A laceration can occur on any part of the body and can be superficial (only affecting the skin’s surface) or deep.
A laceration suspected of cutting through a tendon, ligament, or muscle should be treated by a medical professional to maintain limb or joint function. A laceration that is deep enough to cut through an artery is a life-threatening emergency.
If you’ve experienced a laceration in Las Vegas or Henderson, NV, the orthopedic specialists at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospitals can help. Find a Doctor near you today.
Symptoms of Lacerations
The signs and symptoms of lacerations are pretty simple: a visible wound through the skin that bleeds and hurts. While lacerations on the hand, wrist, or elbow can be particularly debilitating, not all wounds need professional medical care.
The following signs and symptoms of a laceration should be treated by a medical professional:
- Excessive bleeding that won’t stop after applying direct pressure for five minutes
- Bright red, spurting blood from the wound
- Any type of laceration caused by stabbing
- Wounds that reveal structures below the skin, such as tendons, ligaments, or bones
- Cuts to the face longer than approximately one-half inch in length
- Scalp lacerations (even mild ones) on a person who takes anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medication
- Any laceration on a person who has not had a tetanus shot within the last few years
- Lacerations that cause numbness or loss of sensation below the wound, such as a laceration near the elbow that makes the fingers feel numb
If you’re not sure whether or not a laceration is severe enough to need medical attention, your best bet is to use caution and see a doctor.
Causes of Lacerations
Any skin contact with a sharp object or blunt force can cause a tear in the skin. The most common causes are falling, car accidents, industrial accidents, accidents while operating power tools or lawn and garden equipment, or something as simple as cutting your finger while chopping food.
Laceration Treatment at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican Hospitals
Treatment strategies for lacerations include relieving pain, restoring function, and reducing scarring. For mild lacerations, first aid treatment such as applying a bandage may be all that’s needed. However, any moderate laceration of the hand, wrist, or arm should be examined by a medical professional.
Common treatments for moderate to severe lacerations include:
- Sutures (stitches), staples, or adhesive steri-strips to close the wound
- Pain medication
- Elevating and icing the injured area
- Antibiotic ointment or cream
- Surgery to remove torn skin edges and close the laceration so it will heal properly
- Microsurgery to repair blood vessels
- Plastic surgery to reduce scarring if you have a laceration to the face
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican provides treatment for lacerations in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV, through a variety of orthopedic services.