A laceration is a cut in the skin. Some lacerations are superficial and can be managed with minor care. Other lacerations may require evaluation and repair by a healthcare provider. Wounds are typically inspected for the presence of dirt or other foreign bodies as well as for injuries to important structures such as tendons, muscles, or joints. Injuries involving tendons can be serious and often require a specialist to repair. Wounds need to be washed out thoroughly in order to prevent infection. Deep wounds sometimes need to be closed in layers.
The following techniques may be used to repair a laceration:
Sutures may be either natural or synthetic materials that can be used to sew together a laceration. The benefit of sutures is there are many ways to place them in order to achieve a good cosmetic effect and also to provide pull together a gaping wound. Sutures are typically placed with the use of local or regional anesthesia so they are not painful. Sutures are usually left in for 7-14 days in order to allow the wound to heal.
Surgical staples have the benefit of being able to be placed rapidly into a wound and are very strong unlikely sutures which may break if placed under stress. We may elect to use staples over sutures when the wound is across a joint and likely to come under stress or in areas where it may be difficult to visualize the placement of sutures such as on the scalp. Staples are also left in place for 7-14 days depending on the nature of the wound.
Skin glue is an excellent choice for simple clean lacerations that are not technically complicated to repair. Skin glue is a favorite choice for use in repairing lacerations in children. Children are often apprehensive regarding injections for anesthesia and some children may even require sedation to effect a wound repair. Skin glue is often better tolerated by small children making it a great choice. The cosmetic results for skin glue is comparable to sutures when used in appropriately simple wounds.