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Difference Between Abrasion and Laceration

Abrasion Vs Laceration

Did you know that the skin is actually considered as the largest organ of the human body? Yes, without a doubt, the skin covers the most surface area and covers almost all of the human body externally. Possessing several layers namely the epidermis (outermost), the dermis (middle layer) and the subcutaneous tissue layer or sub cutis, the skin acts as the body’s primary defense against illnesses and physical wounds and traumas. In this regard, when the skin is wounded it can either become lacerated, or abraded.

According to the degree or depth of the injury, abrasion and laceration are only two of the several types of wounds including avulsion, puncture and incision wounds. Abrasion is the milder form of injury compared to laceration because it only involves the scraping away of a certain region of the integument. Thus, it is a more superficial (the most superficial) type of wound. Lacerations, on the contrary, are deeper wounds. These are the full thickness wounds whereby the entire skin is penetrated by a jagged edge like a broken piece of glass or bottle. There is blunt trauma involved.

In line with the degree of penetration, abrasions only reach the epidermal skin layer. Because there’s a form of skin scraping involved, the skin becomes a little rough when touched, reddish and warmer because of the instant inflammation involved. Abrasions often result from activities involving friction or rubbing forces as in the case of an athlete rubbing the skin of his arms to the surface of a rough cemented wall.

In other aspects, an abrasion can also involve (not only the skin) but also the eyes. Corneal abrasions take place when the cornea of the eye (the structure covering the iris) is scraped off.

Lacerations can reach far deeper by reaching the fatty layers and even the muscles below it. The lacerated area will usually pour out some blood as well because the skin is literally opened up.

Because of the nature of the wound, abrasions would obviously take less time to heal. With the provision of topical antibiotics , any undue infection is warded off, leaving the skin healed in a matter of days. The healing and treatment for lacerations are more complicated because it may require careful suturing aside from taking oral or injectable antibiotics. In the end, lacerations have the higher tendency of leaving permanent scars compared to abrasions.

1. Abrasions are simpler wounds compared to lacerations (more serious).

2. Abrasions heal faster than lacerations.

3. Abrasions usually don’t bleed unlike lacerations.

4. Abrasions injure the epidermis only unlike lacerations that can reach the lowest layers of the skin.

5. Abrasions do not leave scars too often compared to lacerations.


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1 Comment

  1. abrasion= tearing of the skin
    laceration= shearing of the skin

    source: Pathophysiology for the Health Professions 3rd ed. by Damjanov, I.

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