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4 Types of Open Wounds

by
author image Leah DiPlacido, Ph.D.
Leah DiPlacido, a medical writer with more than nine years of biomedical writing experience, received her doctorate in immunology from Yale University. Her work is published in "Journal of Immunology," "Arthritis and Rheumatism" and "Journal of Experimental Medicine." She writes about disease for doctors, scientists and the general public.
4 Types of Open Wounds
Nails cause puncture wounds, which are one of four types of wounds. Photo Credit nail image by Horticulture from <a href="http://www.fotolia.com">Fotolia.com</a>

Wounds are injuries to the body that range from very minor, like a scratch that bleeds very little, to severe, such as complete removal of a body part. Wounds are often categorized into four main classes based on the type of injury.

Lacerations

A laceration, or cut, is a type of wound in which the skin is separated by a sharp object, such as a knife, razor or the edge of a piece of paper. The Michigan State University's Olin Health Center notes that lacerations are characterized by a wound that usually forms a line on the surface of the skin but can extend through the layers of the skin into the tissue below. This type of wound often bleeds profusely and treatment sometimes involves the application of stitches by a medical professional, which prevents the wound from reopening and can prevent exposure to sources of infection.

Abrasions

Another type of open wound is an abrasion, often called a scrape, which is characterized by removal of the top layers of skin when rubbed against a hard and/or rough surface. According to the University of Southern Connecticut State University, an abrasion is usually a very shallow wound, as opposed to a laceration, which can be very deep. The university notes that it is important to clean an abrasion and to apply antibiotic ointment to prevent infection and speed healing. Abrasions often form scabs, which is the body's way of applying a bandage to the wound. Scabs fall off when they are no longer needed, and picking at scabs may delay healing time.

Punctures

Puncture wounds are a type of wound that is caused by a pointed object and may extend deep into the skin and tissue. MedlinePlus, a service of the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, states that common causes of puncture wounds include the tip of a knife, a nail or a sharp tooth. If debris is still present in the wound, MedlinePlus advises seeking medical attention for its removal and to not probe the puncture wound in an attempt to remove the foreign material. The Michigan State University's Olin Health Center notes that puncture wounds often do not bleed as readily as other types of wounds. Because bleeding actually helps remove foreign material from the wound, puncture wounds are at a greater risk of infection.

Avulsions

Avulsions are a type of wound in which the skin and/or tissue is torn away from the body. A very severe type of avulsion is an amputation, in which a body part, such as a finger or hand, is completely removed during the injury. Because of the serious nature of torn skin or flesh or an amputated limb, seek immediate medical attention for treatment of this type of wound. This type of wound may be very painful due to the tearing of the skin and/or flesh and may bleed profusely.

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