Cuts or Lacerations (cont.)
Infection is the biggest medical concern in the first few weeks.
- Signs of infection include severe pain, draining pus, redness beyond the wound edges, fever and chills, or excessive wound swelling.
- Inflammation from wound healing and stitches can cause minor redness around the wound edges and is normal.
- If you think you might have an infection, see a doctor.
Scarring is a big concern. Although good wound care gives the best chance of a smaller scar, there are several factors you can't control:
- Some African American people form keloid scars during the healing process
- A keloid is a thick swollen scar with a ropelike quality.
- Sometimes a dermatologist or plastic surgeon can treat the condition after the wound is healed.
- More jagged cuts with more traumatic skin damage (such as a cut surrounded by an area of abrasion) tend to scar more.
- Cuts in the same direction as your natural skin lines (wrinkle lines) are less visible.
There are some things you can do to help minimize the possibility of scarring:
- Infected wounds tend to scar more.
- Keep an eye out for redness, swelling, or other signs of infection and see a doctor if these occur.
- Keep the wound covered and clean while healing.
- Avoid sun exposure, as newly healed tissue burns more easily and is often left discolored.
- Over-the-counter scar creams are generally not harmful but they have not been proven to be effective.
- It is important to realize that a scar will often look red and swollen after suture removal but may fade considerably for up to one year. You might want to wait at least that long before consulting a specialist for scar revision.
Medically reviewed by Rambod Rouhbakhsh, MD, MBA, FAAFP; American Board of Family Medicine
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/28/2014
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