Wounds and lacerations of the upper extremities are one of the most common injuries (besides fractures) that are seen in our clinic. These injuries range from simple fingertip, hand or arm lacerations to complex injuries involving tissue structures, or partial and full amputations. In these injuries, the first step is to stabilize the extremity and control bleeding. Next, is to evaluate and establish the severity of the wound or laceration which can be accomplished through a visual exam or through imaging (XR, MRI, EMG, CT scan, or Ultrasound).
- Apply direct pressure to a wound using clean gauze or cloth. If the wound bleeds through, do not remove the gauze or cloth, instead add more.
- Elevate the wound above the heart.
- If muscles, tendons, or bones are exposed, wrap gauze or a cloth around them but DO NOT attempt to push them back inside the laceration.
- If you are feeling lightheaded or dizzy, lie down or sit with your head between your knees.
- Do Not place a tourniquet on the extremity to control bleeding. Once a tourniquet is placed, it should only be removed by a medical professional.
- If you are unsure of the severity of your wound, seek medical treatment or call 911
- Vaccinations (if wound or laceration is from sources that could cause bacterial infections)
- Surgery is an option of the wound or laceration meets the following:
- Exposure of muscle, fat, tendon, or bones
- Debris that’s not able to be removed by cleaning
- Uncontrollable bleeding
- Jagged or uneven edges
- Depth more than 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep
Dr. Watkins is a highly skilled upper extremity wound and laceration Hand Surgeon and that completed his internship and fellowship as a general trauma surgeon. Please call our office our seek immediate medical attention if you have a wound or laceration that you can’t control.