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First Aid & Emergencies

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Deep Cuts

Home treatment can be used to care for a cut that is not deep (superficial). A cut is deep if:

  • The deepest part of the cut is not visible.
  • The cut is more than 0.25 in. (6.5 mm) deep.
  • Fat, muscle, tendon, nerve, ligament, or bone tissue is seen.

When there is a cut on the face, neck, chest, or abdomen, the depth of the cut is very important to determine whether medical treatment is needed.

Deep cuts are often caused from a sharp object piercing through the skin.

  • Deep cuts that enter the chest or abdomen have an increased risk of infection, internal bleeding, and organ damage.
    • Deep cuts to the chest may cause trouble breathing.
    • Deep cuts to the abdomen may cause the belly to become tender or rigid.
  • Deep cuts in the neck may injure blood vessels or impair breathing.
  • Deep cuts to an extremity may injure underlying tissues such as blood vessels, nerves, tendons, ligaments, muscles, joints, or bones.

When a deep cut has occurred anywhere on the body, watch for signs of shock.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine

Current as ofSeptember 9, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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