Why would you not remove a foreign object from an open cut?
In open cuts, the foreign body may not be removed immediately if it could harm the blood vessels or nerves. Sometimes, a foreign body is stuck in the wound, which also stops the blood from spurting out. Such a deeply embedded foreign body must only be treated by a physician. The decision to remove or leave a foreign object inside the body depends on many factors such as
- Type of object (metal/glass/other)
- Size of the object (big or small)
- Location (deep or just under the skin or is it in the foot or hand where the use of the foot or hand will cause discomfort)
If an object, such as a knife, a piece of glass or metal, is embedded in a wound, do not remove it.
- Place several dressings around it to keep it from moving.
- Bandage the dressings in place around the object.
Most tiny foreign bodies in the skin surface can be removed at home. These include splinters, cactus spines, fiberglass and pieces of glass.
- If something needs to be removed by a doctor, see one right away. Waiting may cause the object to become hidden or pushed in deeper. The doctor can numb the skin before the object is removed.
- Organic slivers (wood or thorns) most often become infected if they are not removed. Nonorganic slivers (metal or glass) often do not become infected.
How to remove foreign objects from the skin?
Most of the time, you can remove small objects and debris from your skin using a pair of tweezers. When foreign objects enter the body because of a puncture wound, it’s important to use care. Removing large or deeply embedded objects can result in uncontrolled blood loss. Generally, it’s best to seek medical attention to remove any foreign body that’s large enough to create a substantial wound. Before you attempt any foreign body removal from the skin, make sure to
- Wash your hands using soap and water.
- Use tweezers and sterilize them with rubbing alcohol before use.
- Remove the object and sterilize the wound using rubbing alcohol.
- Allow the wound to dry and then apply antibiotic ointment.
- Cover the wound with a bandage or gauze pad.
A patient may require a visit with the doctor if
- The object does not come out easily.
- The puncture wound is on the face, deep or touching bone.
- The wound is very dirty.
- The object entered through the bottom of a shoe (stepping on a nail, for instance).
- You have not had tetanus shots recently.
What are the common measures to treat the wound?
The common measures include
- Rest the affected part as much as possible.
- Elevate the area above the level of your heart for the first two days. Elevation minimizes swelling and pain.
- Over-the-counter pain medications can help relieve discomfort associated with your wound. Acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen, or naproxen can be taken, depending on individual preference.
- Clean the wound daily with soap and water. After cleaning, re-dress the wound. Apply over-the-counter antibacterial ointment and cover the wound with gauze.
- When changing the dressing, inspect the wound for signs of infection, such as pus on the wound, increasing redness/swelling/warmth around the wound or red streaks spreading from the wound. If you suspect infection is present, return to the doctor promptly.
- If you have continuing problems with the wounded area, schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor. Seek care if you have continuing discomfort when moving or using the wounded site or if you would like another opinion on the risks/benefits of removal.
Top Why Not Remove a Foreign Object From an Open Cut Related Articles
acetaminophenAcetaminophen is a drug that reduces fever and relieves pain. It is available alone, or in combination with hundreds of other drugs available both over-the-counter (without a prescription) or that that may require a prescription from your doctor, for example, acetaminophen and hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco) or acetaminophen and oxycodone (Percocet). Acetaminophen treats a variety of diseases or other medical problems that cause pain or fever. Examples of conditions acetaminophen treats include headache, minor arthritis pain, back pain, tooth pain, menstrual cramps, PMS, osteoarthritis, common cold, tension headache, chronic pain, hip pain, shoulder and neck pain, sore throat, sinus infection, teething, TMJ, bites and stings, and sprains and strains. Acetaminophen generally has no side effects when taken as prescribed. When side effects are experienced, the most common are headache, rash, and nausea.
Can Dermabond Be Used on Open Wounds?The tissue adhesive, Dermabond, can be used as an alternative for 5-0 or smaller sutures to close wounds. It can be used to close wounds on the face, extremities and torso. The doctor may prefer Dermabond over sutures depending on their level of comfort and experience.
Cuts, Scrapes, and Puncture WoundsLearn about first aid for cuts, scrapes (abrasions), and puncture wounds, when to see a doctor, if tetanus shots are necessary, and how to spot signs of infection.
First Aid: Bandaging Injuries and Wounds From Head to ToeBandaging a wound like a burn, cut, or scrape requires different techniques depending on which part of the body was hurt. Ace bandages, liquid bandages, bandage wraps, waterproof bandages, elastic bandages, and other types are available to cover and protect your wound from dirt and water.
First Aid: Wound Care for Cuts and ScrapesWound care treatment at home involves performing cuts and scrapes first aid including cleaning the injury and applying antibiotic ointment and a bandage. Use wound care products like adhesive bandages, hypoallergenic bandages, sprays, tape, and gauze. If cuts and scrapes don’t heal, see your doctor.
8 First Aid Kit Essentials for Scrapes, Cuts, Bug Bites, and MoreAre you always prepared for a first aid crisis? See which basic first aid items to pack to treat minor scrapes, cuts, and stings when you're on the go.
First Aid Quiz: Care for Wounds, Scrapes, Cuts, and BurnsWound care for cuts and scrapes includes treatment to clean and bandage the injury. Should you use alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, ointment, or butter on a wound? Should you pull a bandage off fast or air out a wound? Take this quiz to test your medical knowledge.
How Do I Fix My Ear Laceration?Lacerations to the ear may involve the skin, fibro cartilaginous tissue or fatty tissues of the external ear, or any of the combination. Lacerations may also involve structures that lie beneath the skin such as the muscles, tendons, blood vessels, and nerves. When the doctor evaluates an ear laceration, it may be important to determine if the laceration has damaged the cartilage in the ear.
How Do You Irrigate a Wound?Wound irrigation is a non-invasive procedure in which a steady flow of a solution is used to achieve wound hydration; remove debris, dead cells, pathogens, and excess blood or other exudates such as pus in an open wound; and assist with a better visual examination. Wound irrigation is one of the most effective methods of wound cleansing.
When Should You Not Close A Wound?Wounds should not be closed if there is a high risk of infection and in other situations. Wounds may be classified as acute or chronic or open or closed. They may be caused by penetrating objects, nonpenetrating trauma and other miscellaneous causes.