Skin Laceration Repair
Thousands of children and adults suffer lacerations every year. The vast majority of these are repaired in a pediatricians’ office or by emergency room physicians. These qualified health care providers are well trained and very experienced with lacerations. Deeper and more complex wounds, or those in cosmetically important areas such as the face, may be referred to a plastic surgeon for advanced surgical care.
How Soon Does Skin Laceration Repair Need To Be Done?
Technique not timing is the most important consideration when you or your child suffers a laceration. To have a laceration skillfully and safely repaired is more important that having it repaired immediately. Facial lacerations may be repaired up to 24 hours following an injury, allowing you the time to make the best arrangement for you or your child.
Why Should You See A Plastic Surgeon For Your Laceration Repair?
The facial skin is very delicate and can easily scar from cuts or lacerations. Although any emergency room can repair a laceration to the face with stitches or other techniques, reducing scar tissues is rarely a concern. The result of a quickly treated facial skin laceration can be a lasting scar that can alter the appearance of the patient, resulting in much deeper emotional scars.
A plastic surgeon has the highly specialized training to repair lacerations in such a way that they are less likely to develop scars, preventing the need for subsequent surgeries. Having the laceration repaired at our office, at a scheduled time will lessen the stress on yourself or your child. Also, you will not be exposed to sick patients and will be cared for by our experienced, well trained nurses.
What To Expect After A Skin Laceration Repair
• Sutures will be removed 5-10 days after the repair of the laceration. The doctor will advise you as to when.
• If steri-strips were applied you may bathe directly over them.
• If exposed sutures were used you may leave the initial dressing on for 24 hours. For the first post operative week, twice daily remove the dressing, cleanse with a Q-tip and hydrogen peroxide, and apply a light layer of bacitracin (or polysporin/neosporin).
• A small amount of drainage is normal from all lacerations.
• The wound may be cleansed with mild soap and water and the patient may bathe.
• Keep all lacerations and wounds out of the sun. Sun avoidance and bandages are the most effective method during the first week. Do not apply sunblock at this stage.
• Antibiotics are not routinely used for facial lacerations. If a prescription for them was given fill it as soon as possible and take the medication as directed until gone.
• To minimize swelling apply ice packs for the first 48 hours and sleep with the head elevated on two pillows.
Risks Of An Untreated Skin Laceration
While uncommon infection is possible. Signs of infection include increasing pain and redness, foul or copious discharge, and fever and malaise. If these symptoms develop call our office immediately.