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Cuts or Lacerations (cont.)

Prevention for Cuts and Lacerations

The bottom line is to use common sense. In a perfect world of preventive medicine, people would not get into fights, shoes would always be worn outside, glass doors would not exist, the left hand would not be used as a cutting board, lawn mowers would be turned off before removing jammed material, and people would always wear seat belts. If all this occurred, Emergency Departments would see far fewer cuts.

Outlook Following Cut or Laceration Care

Patient Comments

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 John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


Armstrong, David G., DPM, MD, PhD. and Andrew J. Meyr, DPM. "Basic principles of wound management." Updated Apr. 28, 2016.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/21/2017

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