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A laceration is a wound that occurs when skin, tissue, and/or muscle is torn or cut open. Lacerations may be deep or shallow, long or short, and wide or narrow. Laceration repair is the act of cleaning, preparing, and closing the wound.
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Minor lacerations (shallow, small, not bleeding, and clean) may not require medical attention. Antibiotic ointment and a bandage may be all that is needed. Some lacerations do require repair. Reasons for seeking medical attention include:
- Muscle, fat, tendon, or bone is exposed
- Dirt and debris can be seen in the wound or remain after irrigation and cleaning
- It feels as if something is in the wound, even if you cannot see any debris
- Wound is at risk for developing tetanus (eg, is deep, associated with a crush injury or burn, or contaminated with feces, dirt, or saliva)
- You have never received a total of at least 3 doses of tetanus immunization (routine childhood immunizations gives a dose at ages 2, 4, 6, and 15-18 months), it has been more than ...
If you have a laceration repair, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
- Noticeable scarring
- Poor wound closure
- Allergic reaction to anesthetic
Call Your Doctor
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
- Wound reopens
- Redness, warmth, swelling, drainage or excessive bleeding occurs at the wound site.
- Signs of infection, including fever, chills, or red streaks tracking up arm or leg
- Any other concerns
In case of an emergency, CALL 911.