From slicing slippery veggies to trimming trees to sliding into second base, life is full of opportunities to cut your skin. Most of the time, all you need to do is clean and cover it, but sometimes it requires professional attention.
If you’re not a medical expert, you may have trouble spotting the signs of a serious laceration, so Dr. Asif Aziz and our Prestige Primary Care team in Dallas, Texas, have put together this handy guide to help you determine when to self-treat and when to seek our expert wound care.
Lacerations, commonly known as cuts, can be caused by accidents, incisions, punctures, or injuries. They differ in severity and location depending on the cause, such as blunt force injuries, cuts made by a sharp object, or a puncture caused by a pointed instrument. Not all of them need a doctor.
Whatever the cause or type of injury, it’s important to know when to seek medical treatment for your cut. Here are some signs indicating your cut needs our help.
A deep cut or puncture wound involves more than just your skin; it damages your tendons, muscles, and possibly your bones. Seek medical attention right away if you can see yellow subcutaneous fatty tissue or bone, or if your cut is deeper than one inch.
Animal bites cause a double dose of danger — you need to deal with the flesh wound plus the likelihood of infection. Cat and dog bites are notorious for causing secondary problems, especially unvaccinated animals, but human bites can be just as problematic. Talk to Dr. Aziz about the type of animal involved. In addition to cleaning and dressing your wound, he may administer a tetanus shot.
Your skin has an amazing way of healing and closing breaches, but only if the edges can meet. Cuts so deep and wide that the tissues can’t connect may need stitches to assist the process.
Cuts on your elbows, knees, and other joints pose a particular problem, as these areas contain ligaments, tendons, and nerves close to the surface.
Animal bites aren’t the only type of cuts that can get infected — all lacerations open your skin’s barrier and make you vulnerable to bacteria. Watch for signs of infection, such as:
Infections need immediate medical attention to prevent serious complications.
If your laceration resulted from a foreign object impaling your skin, you can bet it introduced millions of bacteria into the deeper layers. Rusty nails, dirty tools, wood, knives, and other implements can easily trigger an infection.
Applying direct pressure to a wound and elevating the injured area is the best way to stop the bleeding and kick-start the healing process. However, call us if your cut keeps bleeding and the flow doesn’t appear to be slowing.
A slow-healing wound is a red flag that could signify an underlying health condition. You should see steady progress, but if your wound still looks the same or worse after a week, it’s time to call Dr. Aziz.
Cuts on your face or near your eyes may require a plastic surgeon to prevent significant scarring, and Dr. Aziz can let you know if your laceration requires that level of expertise. Cuts on or near your genitalia also pose a significant risk of infection and may need extra care.
Certain medical conditions put you at a higher risk for infection when you get cut, such as:
If you have a compromised immune system, come see Dr. Aziz about your cut, even if it’s superficial.
Dr. Aziz specializes in acute and chronic wound care and can manage your injury, reduce your symptoms, and ensure proper healing.
To schedule a wound care appointment, call 972-945-8856, or book online.