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Cuts and puncture wounds

Wound - cut or puncture; Open wound; Laceration; Puncture wound

A cut is a break or opening in the skin. It is also called a laceration. A cut may be deep, smooth, or jagged. It may be near the surface of the skin, or deeper. A deep cut can affect tendons, muscles, ligaments, nerves, blood vessels, or bone.

A puncture is a wound made by a pointed object such as a nail, knife, or sharp tooth.

Images

First aid kit
Laceration versus puncture wound
Stitches
Snake bite

Presentation

Minor cut - first aid
Sewing a wound closed, part 1

I Would Like to Learn About:

Symptoms

Symptoms include:

Infection may occur with some cuts and puncture wounds. The following are more likely to become infected:

First Aid

If the wound is bleeding severely, call your local emergency number, such as 911.

Minor cuts and puncture wounds can be treated at home. Take the following steps.

FOR MINOR CUTS

FOR MINOR PUNCTURES

Scarring is a complication of any wound. Prompt first aid and the prevention of infection reduce the amount of scarring.

Do Not

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call 911 or your local emergency number if:

Call your health care provider right away if:

Prevention

Keep knives, scissors, sharp objects, firearms, and fragile items out of the reach of children. When children are old enough, teach them to how to use knives, scissors, and other tools safely.

Make sure you and your child are up to date on vaccinations. A tetanus vaccine is generally recommended every 10 years.

References

Lammers RL, Smith ZE. Principles of wound management. In: Roberts JR, Hedges JR, eds. Roberts and Hedges' Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA. Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 34.

Simon BC, Hern HG. Wound management principles. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2018:chap 52.

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Review Date: 10/16/2017  

Reviewed By: Jesse Borke, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Attending Physician at FDR Medical Services/Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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