A laceration is a tear in the skin and possibly deeper tissues, produced by blunt force trauma. Lacerations are usually over bony prominences. The edges of a laceration will usually be irregular, the depth of the wound usually varies and there may be tissue bridging. A bruise that involves the split area of skin often accompanies lacerations.

Lacerations can be "pattern laceration"s and may show a mirror image of the shape or partial shape of the instrument that inflicted the trauma.

The word "laceration" is commonly misused as a term for any break in the skin. It is commonly abbreviated to lac, as in "the patient had multiple lacs."

Cuts, incisions, burns and abrasions are not lacerations. This is important in a forensic medical record because an injury caused by blunt force may be investigated and prosecuted quite differently than the other type wounds just mentioned above. Other types of traumas cause them, with other types of instruments.

Proper naming of the wound can help guide law enforcement officers in looking for the weapon used. It also prevents the introduction of reasonable doubt on the witness stand if the health care provider testifying is asked to explain why s/he charted a "lac" when the weapon used was sharp, like a knife blade and the injury was actually a "cut".

source: class notes and the textbook Forensic Emergency Medicine.

first in a series of “noding my homework notes”
Next is "cut".

Lac`er*a"tion (?), n. [L.laceratio: cf. F. lac'eration.]


The act of lacerating.


A breach or wound made by lacerating.



© Webster 1913.

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