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Did You Cut Yourself? You May Have an Incised Wound

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A young man shaving for the first time who slices and knicks his skin. A mother in the kitchen rushing to prepare dinner who accidentally slashes herself with her paring knife blade. A man who has an unfortunate encounter with broken glass.

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What do they all have in common? They each found themselves with an incised wound.

There are two types of wounds involving cuts to the skin, laceration and incised. Lacerations are deep cuts through the tissue as the result of blunt force trauma against a hard surface, such as a table. An incised wound comes from a sharp-edged object—this includes a knife, razor or glass, like in the scenarios mentioned above—and is usually a clean, sharp cut.

Let’s delve more into what incised wounds are and what you can do in the event you get one, to help you decide whether you need medical attention.

Types of Incised Wounds

There are several different ways to get an incised wound. Most are inadvertent, such as accidentally cutting yourself with a sharp-ended object like a razor or a knife. But a surgical incision is also considered an incised wound, requiring aftercare for proper healing. Incised wounds are usually longer than they are deep. The wounds usually appear in a clear-cut line. Not surprisingly, the deeper the cut, the more bleeding will occur. When this happens, it’s time to seek medical help to close the wound and stop the bleeding.

Treatment for an Incised Wound

In many cases, wounds can be treated at home, but there are times where the depth of the wound can be life threatening.

The first thing to do if you get an incised wound is to apply pressure to curb bleeding. Use a clean piece of cloth or sterile gauze, and press it against the cut. If your cut is on your arms or legs, raise it above heart level to reduce blood flow to the wound site.

Use soap and water to gently clean your wound and prevent infection. You can also use an antiseptic solution to remove dirt and other debris from the area. When the bleeding has stopped, you can use a topical antibacterial ointment like Neosporin on the cut.

Cover your wound with a sterile bandage and watch for severe bleeding. If the bleeding doesn’t subside, you’ll want to seek medical treatment. Your doctor may administer sutures to keep your incision closed. He or she may recommend a tetanus shot to protect you from contracting the bacterial infection via your wound.

In the case of a surgical incision, always follow your doctor’s instructions on proper cleaning and care. Your wound may need to stay covered to protect it from injury and infection. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before tending to your incision wound, and adhere to the cleaning and bandaging instructions you’re given. Do not use cleaning products like alcohol, peroxide or antibacterial soaps unless your doctor recommends them. Ask if your wound can get wet if you shower, if you’re restricted from any activities until your wound heals and any complications to watch for.

Contact your doctor right away if you experience any of the following:

  • Worsening pain
  • Bleeding that won’t stop
  • An odor coming from your wound site
  • Drainage coming from the wound
  • Fever over 100 degrees F for longer than four hours
  • Swelling or change in size of the wound

Many times, wounds heal on their own with care. Sometimes, however, they persist. When they do, medical treatment is needed to help heal the wound and determine any underlying conditions causing your wound not to heal. Fisher-Titus is skilled at treating difficult-to-heal wounds and has a Wound Healing Center dedicated to helping patients with problem wounds. To learn more about the types of wounds one can get and what to do for them, download our free resource, Seeking Wound Care Treatment, today.

Wound Care Guide

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