Open Wounds – Types and Treatment Options

Open Wounds Treatment OptionsFalls, collisions, and vehicle accidents can cause open wounds. An open wound is an injury that involves an external or internal break in body tissues and the skin. In open wounds, the skin is cracked open, leaving the underlying tissue exposed to the outside environment, which makes it more vulnerable to bleeding and infections.

The risk of infection is high with open wounds. Often an antibiotic will be prescribed, if infection from bacteria develops. In serious cases, surgery may be required to remove infected tissue and sometimes the surrounding tissue as well. Types of open wounds include:

  • Abrasion - This skin wound occurs when the skin rubs or scrapes against a rough or hard surface. Though bleeding is limited, the wound needs to be scrubbed and cleaned to avoid infection.
  • Incision - This wound type is often caused by a sharp-edged object such as a knife or a glass splinter. This type of wound generally bleeds rapidly and heavily. If the cut is deep, muscles, tendons and nerves may be damaged.
  • Laceration - This is a deep cut, irregular tear-like wound caused by a sharp object, such as a knife, razor or the edge of a piece of paper.
  • Puncture - Caused by a pointed object such as a nail, needle, or ice pick, this wound may extend deep into the skin and tissue.
  • Avulsion - This is a partial or complete tearing away of skin and tissue, which occurs during violent accidents such as explosions, and gunshots. These wounds may bleed heavily.

The most appropriate treatment is critical to reduce the complications associated with these wounds. Treating an open wound starts with cleaning it properly. When left uncovered, a scab or a crust may form. Crusting slows down wound healing and is a major factor in scar creation. Proper wound dressings will increase the skin ability to form new skin cells and tissues. This will promote faster skin regeneration and thus, faster wound healing. While choosing a dressing, it is important to consider certain factors such as the location, severity, depth, damages caused and cause of the wound. Types of wound dressings may range from hydrogel to hydrocolloid, alginate and collagen.

Documenting Open Wounds

Wound assessment and documentation is a key process in wound management. It is important that the documentation describes the size of the wound, depth, drainage, pain, treatment provided by the physician and wound progress. Most wound clinics are now using advanced wound EMR to facilitate clear and fast documentation. Wound assessment templates in this advanced software can help physicians enter their observations accurately and quickly, resulting in faster wound healing.