Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Lacerations Treatment

Treatment for a laceration may include wound irrigation, wound cleansing, and laceration repair. Additional treatment for lacerations may include a tetanus vaccine, antibiotics, and pain medications.

Treatment options for a laceration include:

Lacerations Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat lacerations:

Lacerations Sutures

In general, lacerations that require sutures include:

  • Facial lacerations over 1/4 inch (6 mm)
  • Genital lacerations over 1/4 inch (6 mm)
  • Hand or foot lacerations over 1/4 inch (6 mm)
  • Lacerations over 1/2 inch (1.27 cm)

Guidelines for Suture Removal
  • Face: 4 to 5 days
  • Scalp: 7 days
  • Neck: 7 days
  • Trunk: 10 days
  • Extremities: 10 to 14 days

Sutures may need to stay in longer when the laceration is over a joint, or in an area that is under a lot of stress, such as the palm of the hand or sole of the foot.

Lacerations 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 with lacerations who require treatment to prevent tetanus include:


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

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 Lacerations Home Care

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Lacerations 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. Hogg K, Carley S. Towards evidence based emergency medicine: best BETs from the Manchester Royal Infirmary. Staples or sutures for repair of scalp laceration in adults. Emerg Med J. 2002 Jul;19(4):327-8. [12101148]
  3. Mattick A, Clegg G, Beattie T, Ahmad T. A randomised, controlled trial comparing a tissue adhesive (2-octylcyanoacrylate) with adhesive strips (Steristrips) for paediatric laceration repair. Emerg Med J. 2002 Sep;19(5):405-7. [12204985]
  4. Norman D. The effects of age-related skin changes on wound healing rates. J Wound Care. 2004 May;13(5):199-201. [15160575]
  5. O'Dell ML. Skin and wound infections: an overview. Am Fam Physician. 1998 May 15;57(10):2424-32. [9614412]
  6. Singer AJ, Giordano P, Fitch JL, Gulla J, Ryker D, Chale S. Evaluation of a new high-viscosity octylcyanoacrylate tissue adhesive for laceration repair: a randomized, clinical trial. Acad Emerg Med. 2003 Oct;10(10):1134-7. [14525751]
  7. Singer AJ, Quinn JV, Thode HC Jr, Hollander JE; TraumaSeal Study Group. Determinants of poor outcome after laceration and surgical incision repair. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2002 Aug;110(2):429-35. [12142655]
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