Lacerations are full thickness tears to the skin caused by blunt force trauma where the tissues are crushed or torn apart by the object or weapon.

Lacerations typically exhibit the following features:

  • Often gaping
  • May be irregular, but can also be linear
  • Associated bruising (from being crushed)
  • Associated abrasions to the edges
  • Tissue bridges in depth of the wound (in contrast the incised wounds)
  • Rarely self-inflicted
  • Presence of intact hairs which cross the wound (in contrast to incised wounds)
  • Relatively little blood loss (unless on the scalp or intra-orally)
  • Can be associated with fractures (e.g underlying depressed skull fracture)

Figure 8. A scalp laceration.

Figure 9. Laceration to the chin.

Figure 10. Lacerations to the back of the head – note how the edges are irregular and the wound is gaping.