A laceration is an irregular wound in the skin due to a sharp object. The treatment for a laceration is generally based on how deep it is.
How to care for a laceration
- Always stay safe by practicing the universal precautions and use protective equipment if on hand. A laceration often involves excessive bleeding and it is vital to avoid exposure to the blood if possible.
- Control the bleeding since the main issue of concern is blood loss. Apply direct pressure on the laceration while holding it above the heart for 15 minutes. If the bleeding continues, utilize the pressure points. Avoid using a tourniquet unless there is a delay in medical attention for several hours.
- Once the bleeding ceases, cleanse the wound and adjacent site with mild soap and warm water. For a deep wound, the bleeding might start again even if it has already stopped. If this occurs and bleeding recurs, apply pressure again.
- The doctor places stitches for a wide or deep laceration. If stitches are necessary, bring the individual to the nearest emergency department. Even though a large laceration can heal without stitches, having it stitched can promote better healing, lower the risk for infection and prevent scarring.
- For a small laceration that does not require stitches, an antiseptic ointment with butterfly closures are enough. These can keep the wound clean as well as prevent scarring.
- Cover the wound with sterile gauze and tape in place or cover with roller gauze.
- Pain medications can be given since a laceration can cause intense pain.
Monitor for the signs of infection and change the dressing daily. The wound requires cleansing during every dressing change.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on a laceration is for learning purposes only. Learn how this type of wound is treated by taking a standard first aid course with Victoria First Aid.