Puncture wounds, skin

Skin | General Practice | Puncture wounds, skin (Disease)


A person with a puncture wound has an opening through the skin, caused by a sharp object. The object pierces the skin and enters the tissue beneath the skin surface. When the doctor evaluates an arm puncture wound it is important to determine if the wound penetrates a joint or has injured a blood vessel or a nerve.

Causes and Risk factors

Puncture wounds have a higher risk for infection than abrasions and lacerations. Symptoms of a puncture wound include a laceration, with pain, swelling, numbness, redness, or bruising around the puncture wound. Additional findings may include pus draining from the wound, or a wound foreign body.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment for a puncture wound includes wound irrigation, wound cleansing, and exploration of the wound. Additional treatment may include removal of a wound foreign body, wound repair, antibiotics, or tetanus vaccination. A severe puncture wound may require surgery to repair damaged tissue.


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