Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Gaper

No, not someone who gapes, often with a dumb look on his or her face, but a wound, typically a laceration, that gapes open after being cleaned (with pressure irrigation). In the wild med biz, there has been a sort-of guideline stating a wound that gapes open more than one-half inch is best treated by being pulled closed and held in place with wound closure strips or improvised strips (say, from tape). There has been the birth of a new guideline: If the wound gapes open after cleaning, consider closing it with . . . well, you know the rest. If the wound has been well cleaned, there are several healthy reasons, way out there, to close it. It's more comforting to most patients, it usually heals better with less scarring, and it may reduce the chance of infection (since you have "closed the open door" that invites germs in).

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