Lacerations & Deep Cuts

What Is a Laceration?

A laceration or deep cut is a type of wound caused by tearing the skin and sometimes the underlying tissue. The wound has irregular edges, unlike a puncture wound, which usually has obvious edges at the site of injury. Lacerations are prone to infection and can easily become contaminated with debris.

Deep cuts are sometimes scary. You might wonder whether you should rush to the hospital and whether stitches are needed. An important rule to follow is that if you are ever in doubt, seeking medical treatment is always the best choice.

What Type of Lacerations and Deep Cuts Need Medical Treatment?

Seek medical treatment if:

  • A foreign object or a high-impact projectile caused the deep cut.
  • Something likely containing bacteria contaminated the wound, such as an area containing refuse or animal faeces.
  • It is deep enough to expose underlying dermal tissue or yellow fat tissue.
  • It is bleeding profusely or unremittingly.
  • It is on or near genitalia or the face.
  • It was caused by a human or animal bite.

If any of these indicators are present, clean the area, and head to your primary health care provider or emergency room. While on the way to medical treatment:

  • Do not remove foreign objects that may be stuck in the deep cut.
  • Avoid eating and drinking in case stitches or more advanced care will be needed.
  • Apply direct pressure to bleeding wounds and elevate them above heart level to help stop bleeding.