When a patient has a laceration or cut, it means the soft tissue of the skin has been ripped or sliced open. The condition can range in severity from superficial lacerations, which may need only cleaning and bandaging, and deep lacerations, which are medical emergencies requiring immediate expert care.
Deep lacerations can damage not only the surface skin but also the muscle and tendons below. Besides such serious tissue damage, deep lacerations give rise to bleeding that, if left untreated, can result in organ damage or even death.
Therefore, if lacerations bleed profusely, patients ought to immediately seek emergency medical care. The same holds true if lacerations have impeded function. For instance, people should go to the emergency room if they can no longer use their fingers following a lacerating injury.
The treatment for deep lacerations often includes repairing any damaged tissues and stitching the skin closed. Doctors may also prescribe antibiotic medications or suggest tetanus shots to prevent infection.