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What are lacerations?

In paediatric surgery, lacerations refer to cuts or tears in the skin or underlying tissues. They can occur due to various causes, and the symptoms and treatment of lacerations depend on their severity.

What causes lacerations?

Lacerations in paediatric surgery can result from several factors, including:

  • Accidents and Trauma: Falls, cuts from sharp objects, motor vehicle accidents, or sports-related injuries can cause lacerations in children.

  • Surgical Procedures: Lacerations can occur during surgical interventions, including both elective and emergency surgeries.

  • Animal Bites: Bites from animals, such as dogs or cats, can cause lacerations and may require medical attention.

  • Human Bites: Bites from other individuals can also result in lacerations, particularly in situations like altercations or accidents.

What are the symptoms of lacerations?

The symptoms of a laceration can vary depending on its location, depth, and severity. 


Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Visible cut or tear in the skin or underlying tissues.

  • Bleeding, ranging from mild to severe, depending on the size and location of the laceration.

  • Pain or tenderness around the wound.

  • Swelling, redness, or bruising around the laceration.

  • Loss of function in the affected area, depending on the location and extent of the injury.

How to treat lacerations?

The treatment approach for lacerations in paediatric surgery involves immediate first aid measures and, in many cases, medical intervention. 

Here are the general steps involved:

  • Cleaning the Wound: The laceration should be gently cleaned with mild soap and water to reduce the risk of infection. Irrigation with sterile saline solution may also be performed to flush out any debris.

  • Control Bleeding: If there is active bleeding, direct pressure can be applied with a clean cloth or bandage to help stop the bleeding. Elevating the injured area may also assist in reducing blood flow.

  • Closure: Depending on the depth, size, and location of the laceration, medical closure may be necessary. This can involve techniques such as sutures (stitches), staples, adhesive strips, or tissue adhesives (skin glue).

  • Tetanus Immunisation: If the child's tetanus immunisation is not up to date or if the laceration is contaminated, a tetanus shot may be administered.

  • Antibiotics: In some cases, if there is a risk of infection or the wound is contaminated, antibiotics may be prescribed.

  • Follow-up Care: Follow-up visits may be required to monitor the healing process, remove any stitches or staples, and ensure proper wound care.


It's important to note that the management of lacerations in paediatric surgery should be performed by a surgeon. They will assess the specific circumstances of the laceration, determine its severity, and provide appropriate treatment based on their expertise and the individual situation.

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