The issue with cuts, scrapes, or wounds of the skin is that it difficult to know when to see a doctor or when not to see the doctor. If you get a deep cut you should have your tetanus vaccination boosted if it has been over 5 years since your last tetanus shot. This will decrease the likelihood of a particular infection that is possible with skin injuries. Furthermore, if you cannot stop the bleeding, it is usually a good idea to have a doctor evaluate the wound. Lastly, if the wound is deep, treatment should be initiated immediately to minimize the chance of infection. This is where a doctors? evaluation is very important.
Generally treatment involves rinsing the wound, stopping the bleeding, and closing the wound. If the wound is not minor, immediate rinsing and closure of the wound is vital. There are many ways to close the wound after proper cleaning. The most common closure techniques utilize sutures, glue, staples and secondary closure. While terms like glue and staples may sound familiar, they absolutely should not be attempted by a non-professional.
Using Glue to Close a Deep Cut
Glue is used if the cut has minimal pressure separating the two edges and if it is generally linear. Glue can generally be used if the cut is not jagged. It is often a preferred method of closure because there is no real need for anesthesia. ?The glue protects from infection as it is somewhat of an antiseptic substance and the cosmetic result is excellent and superior to other methods. ?Also, there is no need to come back to a doctor to remove sutures or staples.
Using Sutures to Close a Wound
Used for irregular cuts, sutures are generally common when the cut/wound is severe. Used for deep cuts, sutures are often needed if the bleeding is vigorous, excessive and/or strong. The method of closing a cut with sutures requires removal usually 7-10 days after they are placed.
Using Staples to Close a Cut
Some cuts are more amenable to closure with staples. Staples generally involve anesthesia and are most often used on the scalp and head region as suturing or other methods are very difficult when hair is involved. Staples cosmetically heal well leaving little mark on the skin which can eventually diminish. Removal time for staples is similar to removal time for sutures, approximately 7-10 days.
Using Secondary Closure for closing Lacerations
Sometimes the skin cannot tolerate substances such as glue or the intervention of staples or sutures. Secondary closure is used to allow the body to heal without intervention. However, because the wound is open, precautions need to be taken to avoid infection through the open area. Often, slightly more elaborate dressings are used to protect the wound as it heals.
As the winter months proceed, make sure to be careful when outside around objects that can cause cuts, wounds or lacerations. If you are not sure whether you should see a doctor about a cut, you probably should consult with one sooner rather than later. Happy and safe winter!