What is a laceration (cut)?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Laceration is the medical term for a cut -- that is, a tear or opening in the skin. Minor cuts may be treated at home by washing the cut with mild soap and water, applying pressure with a clean cloth to stop the bleeding, and applying antibacterial ointment and a bandage. Seek medical attention right away for any more serious cuts.

A cut (laceration) occurs when the skin is sliced below the surface. A puncture wound is a deep cut that occurs when a sharp object penetrates the skin. A cut can require home treatment or the need for professional care, depending on the location and severity of the wound.

Dr. Elif E. Oker, MD
Medical Toxicology

A laceration is a cut, usually in the skin, and are generally caused by sharp objects or blunt force (a punch for example). Lacerations require good wound care to prevent infection and make sure the wound heals well. 

Lacerations may be left open to heal on their own or closed with wound tape (steri-strips), wound adhesive, stitches or staples. The best way to treat a laceration depends on a variety of factors including the location and depth of the wound, whether the wound is contaminated and whether there are other injuries involved such as broken bones. 

A laceration is a cut in the skin, which commonly is caused by a sharp object, such as a knife, scissors, or broken glass.

A laceration also can occur when a blunt force splits the skin. Deep lacerations may cut layers of fat and muscle, damaging both nerves and blood vessels. Bleeding may be heavy or there may be none at all.

Lacerations are not always painful, because damaged nerves cannot send pain signals to the brain, but infection can easily occur with lacerations if proper care is not given.
Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
A laceration is a traumatic disruption of the skin. It may be either partial or full thickness. The skin consists of two layers including the deeper layer (dermis) and the superficial (epidermis). Either one or both may be traumatically damaged and the cellular layer disrupted by a sharp cut. 

Continue Learning about Skin Injury

Skin Injury

Skin Injury

Not all skin injuries are cuts and scrapes. Heat, friction and pressure can cause skin injuries like burns, sunburn and blisters. A burn is a traumatic skin injury caused by a heat source like scalding liquid or a hot pot, a radia...

tion source like the suns rays, an electrical source like open wiring or a chemical source like acid. Depending on the severity of the burn, treatment can include wound care and pain management, skin grafting, intravenous fluids or cosmetic surgery. Some burns can form blisters, which actually act as a protective, fluid-filled buffer for damaged skin. Blisters also form from skin conditions like eczema and friction sources like ill-fitting shoes. Keeping the area clean with antibiotics and a dressing or bandage is usually enough to heal a blister.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.