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Missouri Skin Laceration Lawyers

Skin Lacerations & Avulsions

Skin trauma includes any break in the skin caused by a penetrating, blunt, shear force, dog bite, or avulsing injury. The causes of this type of injury are extensive but of the more significant traumas, the most common are work-related accidents, auto-related injuries, burns, dog/animal bites, stabbings and gunshot wounds. With any of these injuries there are three primary mechanisms by which it occurs – shearing, tension, or compression.

  • A shearing injury is caused by a sharp object that transmits low-energy and causes minimal tissue destruction.
  • A tension or partial avulsion injury occurs when an object hits the skin at a sharp angle creating a triangular flap. It will typically destroy more tissue than a shearing injury.
  • A compression injury is the result of a high-energy force being transmitted at a right ankle to the skin, typically by a blunt object. It will result in the greatest amount of tissue destruction.


The symptoms of any skin injury are very straightforward – pain and bleeding. Depending on the depth of the wound and the severity, you may or may not experience nerve injury causing a pins and needles sensation and/or decreased sensation. If you experience significant and profuse bleeding, it is possible that you could go into shock and exhibit symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat, fast and shallow breathing, lightheadedness, pale color, and light perspiration.

Treatment and Prognosis

Initially, any bleeding will be stopped or controlled using clean bandages and holding pressure on the wound. Large debris will be removed from the wound and pain medication, such as Vicodin or Percocet, may be given if you are experiencing a great deal of pain.

Also, the doctor may or may not wish to begin antibiotics depending on the cause of the trauma and the injury itself. Finally, you will be asked when your last Tetanus shot was; if it was within the last 5 years nothing else will be done, if it was beyond 5 years ago a Tetanus vaccine will be recommended to you.

A “clean” laceration or wound signifies that the injury was not caused by an object covered in bacteria or visible debris; in contrast, a “dirty” laceration or wound means that the injury has resulted in a significant amount of bacteria and/or debris being introduced into the wound. A wound or laceration is also classified as simple or complex – simple indicates straight, healthy tissue edges on either side of the wound and complex suggests jagged tissue edges, areas of dead tissue, or other complicating factors.

These descriptors determine how the injury is managed after the initial cleaning and irrigation with sterile water or saline. Clean, simple wounds are sutured together and covered with a clean dressing. Dirty wounds are not sutured closed due to the high risk of infection; rather, wet dressings are applied daily and the skin heals naturally. Any dead tissue must be surgically removed to prevent infection. Complex wounds may be sutured closed, allowed to heal naturally, or require a skin graft to cover areas with avulsed tissue.

  • Shearing injuries typically have a low risk of infection and are classified as simple, clean wounds.
  • Tension injuries have a higher risk of infection and the skin flap often loses its’ blood supply leading to tissue death and a more complex wound.
  • Compression injuries are almost always complex wounds with difficult repair and poor cosmetic outcomes.

The prognosis for skin lacerations and avulsions is generally good; however, there can be a varying degree of scarring following the injury depending on the severity of injury and the method of treatment. The worst scarring will be seen with wounds allowed to heal naturally and those requiring a skin graft. The primary complication you must worry about is infection and can be prevented in most cases.

Helping You Overcome Difficult Challenges

Our experienced St. Louis laceration injury attorneys are ready to represent your best interests. If you or a family member has suffered a serious skin avulsion caused by the careless actions of another, we can help you stand up for your legal rights. For more information on your injury case and compensation, call (314) 322-8515 for a free case evaluation.

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