Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Puncture Wound Overview

What is a puncture wound?
A person with a puncture wound has an opening through the skin, caused by a sharp object. The object pierces the skin and enters the tissue beneath the skin surface. Puncture wounds have a higher risk for infection than abrasions and lacerations.

What are the symptoms of a puncture wound?
Symptoms of a puncture wound include a laceration, with pain, swelling, numbness, redness, or bruising around the wound. Additional findings may include pus draining from the wound, or a wound foreign body.

How does the doctor treat a puncture wound?
Treatment for a puncture wound includes wound irrigation, wound cleansing, and exploration of the wound. Additional treatment may include removal of a wound foreign body, wound repair, antibiotics, or tetanus vaccination. A severe puncture wound may require surgery to repair damaged tissue.

Continue to Puncture Wound Incidence

Last Updated: Aug 30, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Puncture Wound References
  1. Baldwin G, Colbourne M. Puncture wounds. Pediatr Rev. 1999 Jan;20(1):21-3. [9919048]
  2. Harrison M, Thomas M. Towards evidence based emergency medicine: best BETs from the Manchester Royal Infirmary. Antibiotics after puncture wounds to the foot. Emerg Med J. 2002 Jan;19(1):49. [11777876]
  3. Haverstock BD, Grossman JP. Puncture wounds of the foot. Evaluation and treatment. Clin Podiatr Med Surg. 1999 Oct;16(4):583-96. [10553222]
  4. Laughlin TJ, Armstrong DG, Caporusso J, Lavery LA. Soft tissue and bone infections from puncture wounds in children. West J Med. 1997 Feb;166(2):126-8. [9109329]
  5. Lavery LA, Walker SC, Harkless LB, Felder-Johnson K. Infected puncture wounds in diabetic and nondiabetic adults. Diabetes Care. 1995 Dec;18(12):1588-91. [8722056]
  6. Weber EJ. Plantar puncture wounds: a survey to determine the incidence of infection. J Accid Emerg Med. 1996 Jul;13(4):274-7. [8832349]
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