Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Abrasions Treatment

Most superficial skin abrasions can be safely treated at home with regular wound cleansing and antibiotic ointment. A superficial abrasion usually heals within 7 to 10 days. Dirt and foreign material must be removed from abrasions, in order to reduce the chance for infection and scarring. When large areas of skin are lost, healing may require weeks. Large abrasions, where deep layers of skin are lost, require surgical repair and skin grafts, which may require months to heal.

Treatment for abrasions may include:

  • Antibiotics for wounds
  • Wound irrigation
    • Rinsing the wound
  • Wound cleansing
  • Wound exploration
  • Wound debridement:
    • Removal of dead or dirty tissue
    • Removal of foreign bodies in the wound
  • Tetanus vaccination

Treatment for deep abrasions may include:
  • Surgery to remove foreign bodies
  • Surgery to repair damaged tissue
  • Skin grafts

Abrasions Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat abrasions:

Abrasions Tetanus

Most children born in the US have received three tetanus shots (boosters) in the past, because these boosters are part of the usual vaccination schedule. Additional tetanus boosters are given every 10 years.

Those who require treatment to prevent tetanus include:


Dirty wounds include:
  • Wounds that occur outdoors
  • Wounds that contain dirt or foreign material

Treatment Options

Tetanus Vaccine and TIG Recommendations
HistoryClean, Minor WoundOther Wounds
< 3 boostersgive Tdgive Td + TIG
3 boosterspossible Tdpossible Td

Clean and minor wounds may need a booster if it has been more than 10 years since the last tetanus vaccine. Other wounds may need a booster if it has been more than 5 years since last tetanus vaccine.

Continue to Abrasions Home Care

Last Updated: Jun 3, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Abrasions References
  1. Hess CT. The art of skin and wound care documentation. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2005 Jan-Feb;18(1):43-53. [15714037]
  2. Moulin V, Auger FA, Garrel D, Germain L. Role of wound healing myofibroblasts on re-epithelialization of human skin.Burns. 2000 Feb;26(1):3-12. [1063031]
  3. Norman D. The effects of age-related skin changes on wound healing rates. J Wound Care. 2004 May;13(5):199-201. [15160575]
  4. O'Dell ML. Skin and wound infections: an overview. Am Fam Physician. 1998 May 15;57(10):2424-32. [9614412]
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