When accidents happen, we cross our fingers for simple cuts and scrapes that can effectively heal on their own with little effort on our end. However, when serious skin tears occur, intervention is key to proper healing.

Here’s your quick guide to avulsion treatment and prevention:

skin avulsion with stitchesSkin avulsions often need stitches to facilitate proper healing.

What are avulsions?

These injuries occur when a portion of the skin and underlying tissue is partially or completely torn away. The damage often reaches deep enough to cause significant bleeding, and sometimes the force of the injury is enough to completely dislodge a body part. As such, they are especially prone to infection. Common causes of skin avulsions are animal bites, industrial equipment malfunctions and motor vehicle accidents.

How do you treat a skin avulsion?

Avulsion injuries typically need professional medical attention because of the excessive bleeding and high potential for amputation and infection – especially if they are very large wounds. Verywell Health advised calling 911 immediately if you can’t cover the skin avulsion with both of your palms. However, you can follow these skin avulsion treatment steps before arriving at the hospital:

  1. Wash your hands. If the skin avulsion occurred in a place where you can clean your hands, do so before touching the affected area to avoid infection.
  2. Control the bleeding. Apply direct pressure with a clean cloth or dressing and elevate the wounded area to stop the bleeding.
  3. Rinse the wound. Use water or a saline solution to flush out the avulsion.
  4. Locate the tissue. If the skin, fat or muscle is partially torn, replace the flap over the injury. If the tissue is completely separate from the body, collect it if possible and bring it with you to the emergency room.
  5. Dress the wound. Fairview suggested keeping the wound clean and dry for the first day or two, changing the dressing every 24 hours – unless your health care provider advises otherwise.

From there, it’s important to watch for signs of delayed healing or infection – such as continued bleeding, swelling, redness or drainage – especially if the doctor used stitches or staples to seal the wound.

Can you prevent a skin avulsion?

Wear protective clothing or equipment when participating in outdoors and sports activities or operating machinery, and be careful when working with knives or other sharp tools. Skin avulsions are usually unavoidable mistakes, but you can prevent complications by following your health care provider’s treatment instructions and contacting your doctor immediately with concerns.

In the event that you need avulsion wound care supplies pronto, talk to your doctor about smartPAC by Advanced Tissue for smart delivery of the products your treatment requires.