A) ACUTE WOUNDSAn acute wound is an injury to the skin that occurs suddenly, rather than over a period of time. Acute wounds can occur anywhere on the body and vary from superficial scratches to deep wounds that damage deeper structures such as blood vessels, nerves, muscle or tendons. They include injuries such as cuts (lacerations), scrapes (abrasions), bites, puncture wounds and burns.
Minor acute wounds can be treated at home with general first aid principles. These include:
However, you should see a doctor if your wound is large, long or deep, or if the bleeding does not stop on its own. You should also visit the doctor if you are uncertain about how to look after your wound. Good wound care is important to speed up wound healing and prevent complications such as infection and poor scarring.
TreatmentYour doctor will evaluate your wound and determine whether there are any associated injuries of the deeper structures. Depending on the nature and severity of your injury, you may require:
Painkillers and antibiotics are generally prescribed to control the pain and prevent or treat infection. Your doctor will give you follow-up appointments to monitor the progress of your wound to ensure that it heals well.B) CHRONIC WOUNDSA chronic wound is a wound is slow to heal or has failed to heal after several months. Examples include diabetic ulcers, venous and arterial ulcers of the leg, and pressure ulcers. Some of these wounds may never heal without specialist intervention. Early review by a specialist team is therefore important to correct risk factors and optimise wound healing conditions.
Risk factorsRisk factors for poor wound healing include:
A specialist review can determine if you have any of the above risk factors and recommend the appropriate steps to correct these problems in order to optimise the wound healing environment.
TreatmentDepending on the cause and condition of your wound, your plastic surgeon may recommend one of more of the following interventions:
C) SCAR MANAGEMENTAfter you have recovered from your injury, you may be concerned about scarring, especially if you were wounded on a prominent part of your body such as your face. Unfortunately, scar formation is the body’s normal response to damage and is thus inevitable after any form of injury. However, proper scar treatment can help the scar to heal such that it is as inconspicuous as possible. Things that can improve your scar outcome include:
Some of the above measures are also appropriate to treat old scars that you may have such as acne scars, or keloids.
It is good to consult a plastic surgeon early if you have a scar that you are worried about as better outcomes may be achieved with earlier intervention.
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