Wounds that cause a break in the skin are called open wounds. These are the types of wounds that may require stitches. Closed wounds do not have a break in the skin and are identified by swelling and bruises.
There are several types of open wounds:
- Lacerations: This is what we are thinking of when we say “cuts.” Lacerations are simple breaks in the skin.
- Incisions: Incisions are surgical wounds, which are usually made by a scalpel. These are similar to lacerations but have very smooth edges.
- Punctures: It’s hard to tell a puncture from a laceration if the item that made the wound is big enough. Lacerations tear through the skin, while punctures go in and come back out. If the item that made the puncture is still embedded, it’s called an impaled object.
- Avulsions: These are torn sections of skin, either a flap that’s open on three sides or torn away completely.
- Abrasions: These are scratches. The difference between an abrasion and an avulsion is the depth. Abrasions leave the skin mostly intact while avulsions remove the skin entirely.