Wound Assessment

The following should be considered when undertaking an assessment of a wound:

1) Wound classification:

  • Laceration
  • Contused wound
  • Puncture wounds
  • Bites
  • Degloving injuries
  • Abrasions

2) Type of wound:

  • Linear (regular)
  • Stellate (irregular)

3) Depth:

  • Wounds not fully penetrating the skin are superficial
  • Explore all deep wounds under anaesthesia if any doubt exists to whether there may be damage to underlying structures

4) Site of wound:

  • Infection rate: legs & feet > arms & hands >head & neck.
  • Cosmetic implications
  • Wounds over joints

5) Damage to underlying structures:

  • Key to assessment includes understanding the mechanism of injury
  • Always assess distal neurovascular status
  • Always assess for underlying tendon damage

6) Is the wound dirty?

  • All sporting wounds are potentially dirty
  • Injuries more than 4 hours old
  • Location
  • Contamination with devitalised tissue, foreign material, saliva, or mud
  • Blunt (crush) mechanism
  • High velocity missile injuries