Laceration Repair: Time-Sensitive Tips

laceration repair

Laceration Injuries Need Urgent Medical Attention

When an injury occurs, medical attention is often needed. When a laceration happens, urgent medical attention is almost always required. Lacerations, or a deep cut or tear in the skin, needs to be repaired quickly to avoid infection, restore function to the involved tissues, and avoid scarring. What’s known as ‘the golden period’ is a period of time after the injury has occurred in which it’s considered safe to perform primary repair of a laceration. In short, if a laceration is left too long without attention, it will not be able to be stitched up.

The Golden Period

The idea of the golden period is an old one which derives from animal studies. In 1898, Professor Paul Leopold Friedrich lacerated the skin of guinea pigs, then inoculated the wounds with bacteria. He found that if the surrounding skin was not excised within 6 hours, the animals died.

It’s important to bear in mind that animal-based studies are often incredibly different to human data. Artificially inoculating a wound with bacteria is not the same as natural bacterial exposure that occurs with traumatic lacerations. Even so, it’s become well accepted that there exists some window of time in which it is safe to close traumatic lacerations primarily. That window of opportunity is cited as anywhere between 3 to 24 hours.

Additional Factors in Laceration Injuries

Of course, it’s not as straightforward and researchers found a whole multitude of other factors that would determine how safe it is to sew up a laceration, including a history of diabetes, length of laceration, the location of the wound, and level of contamination. In some studies, the age of the laceration was not a cause for concern when debating the likelihood of infection.

For minor to moderate injuries and all medical issues, visit Sand Canyon Urgent Care and let us take care of your family’s medical needs. Call us today at (949) 536-7892 for more information!