Face laceration (cut in the skin)

Skin | General Practice | Face laceration (cut in the skin) (Disease)


Facial lacerations can be simple or complex. Complex lacerations can involve loss of tissue and may require plastic surgery repair. Lacerations that extend perpendicular to the normal lines of expression leave more noticeable scars and require meticulous closures. Facial drooping is present if underlying nerves are injured.

Causes and Risk factors

A person with a laceration has a cut, or tear, in the skin, caused by an injury. Lacerations may also involve structures that lie beneath the skin, such as muscles, tendons, blood vessels, and nerves. When the doctor evaluates a facial laceration, it will be important to determine if the laceration has injured a nerve in the face.

Facial injuries have the potential to cause disfigurement and loss of function; for example, blindness or difficulty moving the jaw can result. Although it is seldom life-threatening, facial trauma can also be deadly, because it can cause severe bleeding or interference with the airway; thus a primary concern in treatment is ensuring that the airway is open and not threatened so that the patient can breathe.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Sutures to repair the laceration. To reduce scar formation some facial lacerations require a 2 layer closure with deep absorbable sutures placed first, then skin sutures. Facial lacerations should be repaired within 24 hours to prevent infection, with 12 hours being ideal. While waiting for treatment the laceration can be cleaned with running water and covered with gauze or a clean cloth. Pressure on the wound can be applied to stop bleeding. A tetanus shot may be needed if the last shot was more than 5 years for a dirty wound or more than 10 years for a clean wound. ...