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. A tourniquet must be avoided unless medical attention is delayed for several hours.
- Once the bleeding ceases, cleanse the laceration 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.
- Stitches are required for a wide or deep laceration. If stitches are needed, the individual must be taken 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.
- The laceration must be covered 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 laceration must be cleansed every time the dressing is changed.
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.