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Plastic Surgery Home Page
Division of
Plastic Surgery
Traumatic Injury
Scott Bartlett
S. Bartlett
Benjamin Chang
B. Chang
Albert D'Angelantonio
Joshua Fosnot
J. Fosnot
David Low
D. Low
Joseph Serletti
Dr. Serletti

Sharp and blunt trauma can result in disruption of the skin and fat layers in the form of lacerations, deep abrasions, and tears (avulsions).  Deeper soft tissue injuries to the muscles may also occur, as well as injuries to tendons, blood vessels, and nerves.

External injuries to the skin are obvious, but the depth and severity of the injury may not be.  Evaluation of the wound and assessment of color, sensation, and function will help to distinguish superficial from deep injuries.

How is it treated? Abrasions are treated with cleansing and topical application of antibiotic ointment or special dressings. Small superficial lacerations may be closed with adhesive paper strips or a skin adhesive. Deeper lacerations generally require repair of nerves, vessels, tendons, and muscles prior to skin closure, or as a delayed procedure. When a significant amount of skin is missing, skin grafts or more sophisticated flap reconstruction may be necessary.

Will it leave a scar? Soft tissue injuries will leave permanent scars despite the most careful suture closure. Secondary scar revisions may improve the appearance of unsightly scars, but it is impossible to completely remove them.

Inpatient Facilities:
Hospital University of Pennsylvania (HUP)
Pennsylvania Hospital (PAH)
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)
Office Visit Locations:
Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine
Center for Human Appearance, Suite 1-150E (HUP)
230 W. Washington Square (PAH)
34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard (CHOP)
Making an Office Visit Appointment:
1-800-789-PENN (HUP) or 215-590-2208 (CHOP)

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