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Types of wound

Introduction to the different types of wound
Dog bite on hand
© University of Glasgow, 2017

Wounds can be caused in a number of different ways by a variety of different objects, be it blunt, sharp or projectile. They are classified into several categories dependent on the cause and resulting injury:

Incised wound – A clean, straight cut caused by a sharp edge (i.e. a knife). Tends to bleed heavily as multiple vessels may be cut directly across. Connecting structures such as ligaments and tendons may also be involved.

Laceration – A messy looking wound caused by a tearing or crushing force. Doesn’t tend to bleed as much as incised wounds but often causes more damage to surrounding tissues.

Abrasion – A wound caused by a scraping force or friction. Tends not to be very deep but can often contain many foreign bodies such as dirt (i.e. after a fall on loose ground).

Puncture – A deep wound caused by a sharp, stabbing object (i.e. a nail). May appear small from the outside but may damage deep tissues. Particularly dangerous on the chest, abdomen or head where major organs are at risk.

Avulsion – A wound caused by a tearing force in which tissue is torn away from its normal position. May bleed profusely depending on the size and location. The tissue is often completely detached.

Amputation – The loss of a distinct body part such as a limb, finger, toe or ear. Often very severe with profuse bleeding. In the cases of limb loss this is a medical emergency.

© University of Glasgow, 2017
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