“Laceration” is the term for a deep cut that goes through all layers of the skin, typically resulting in the edges of the wound separating. When caring for a laceration, the most important thing is to keep it clean and free from infection. Before seeking care, wash the wound out with soap and water if you are able and the bleeding is not severe. To control bleeding, put firm pressure on the wound with a clean bandage or cloth.
Non-absorbable sutures are the traditional type of sutures used to close a laceration. These sutures are made from materials such as nylon, silk, or stainless steel. Non-absorbable sutures should be removed by a healthcare professional, usually 5 to 14 days after the laceration has been closed depending on the depth and location.
Absorbable sutures are made from materials such as polyglycolic or polyglactin acid. These sutures dissolve into the wound and do not need to be removed by a healthcare provider. Absorbable sutures will usually dissolve in 7 to 14 days.
Tissue adhesives are an alternative to sutures and are applied as a liquid or foam to the wound. Tissue adhesives are made from materials such as cyanoacrylate, fibrin sealant, and collagen. They form a barrier to help keep the wound closed and reduce the risk of infection. Tissue adhesives are usually used for smaller lacerations and should not be used on deep wounds.
I’ve heard that Superglue works the same as medical tissue adhesive. Is that true?
Medical tissue adhesive is similar to Superglue in that they are both adhesives used to bond materials together; however, they differ in composition and application. Medical tissue adhesive is specifically designed to be used on living tissue and skin, while Superglue is designed for use on non-porous surfaces. Medical tissue adhesive also has the added benefit of being non-toxic and safe to use on skin, whereas Superglue is toxic when ingested and can cause skin irritation. Additionally, medical tissue adhesive does not require a chemical reaction to form a bond, whereas Superglue does.
In general, proper wound care includes cleaning the wound with soap and water, applying an antibiotic ointment if needed, and covering the wound with a bandage. When fast-absorbing sutures are used, your doctor may recommend that you NOT use ointment as it may speed the dissolving process and weaken the sutures. It is important to change the bandage daily and keep the wound clean and dry. Keeping the wound “aired out” or allowed to dry is generally not recommended, as it takes longer to heal, makes removing sutures harder, and is more likely to scar. If you have any questions or concerns about caring for a laceration, it is best to seek advice from a healthcare professional.
I have a laceration and need it cared for- now what? Most primary care doctors to not manage lacerations. You can be seen in the emergency room, local urgent care, or even better, skip the waiting room and call Bay Mobile Care at 408-256-1117 for immediate management in your own home.