In penetrating trauma, the injuries sustained are caused by direct injury as the penetrating item passes through the organs and tissues in its path. Stab wounds and low-energy gunshot wounds cause tissue damage by lacerating and tearing. High-energy gunshot wounds transfer more kinetic energy, causing increased damage surrounding the track of the missile due to temporary cavitation.

In the UK, this is most commonly knife- related injury. The site of entry, direction of the injury and the size and nature of the penetrating item will all provide information regarding the underlying injuries. The visible wound may be small and insignificant in appearance.

stab wound

Learning Bite

It is impossible to tell from the appearance of a surface wound, the extent of underlying damage.