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Search Health Information    Deep Cuts

Deep Cuts

Home treatment can be used to care for a cut that is not deep (superficial). A cut is deep if:

  • The deepest part of the cut is not visible.
  • The cut is more than 0.25 in. (6.5 mm) deep.
  • Fat, muscle, tendon, nerve, ligament, or bone tissue is seen.

When there is a cut on the face, neck, chest, or abdomen, the depth of the cut is very important to determine whether medical treatment is needed.

Deep cuts are often caused from a sharp object piercing through the skin.

  • Deep cuts that enter the chest or abdomen have an increased risk of infection, internal bleeding, and organ damage.
    • Deep cuts to the chest may cause trouble breathing.
    • Deep cuts to the abdomen may cause the belly to become tender or rigid.
  • Deep cuts in the neck may injure blood vessels or impair breathing.
  • Deep cuts to an extremity may injure underlying tissues such as blood vessels, nerves, tendons, ligaments, muscles, joints, or bones.

When a deep cut has occurred anywhere on the body, watch for signs of shock .

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised June 6, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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