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Find information on medical topics, symptoms, drugs, procedures, news and more, written for the health care professional.

* This is the Professional Version. *

Abrasions

By Adam J. Singer, MD, Stony Brook University and Medical Center

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Patient Education

Abrasions are skin scrapes that may involve epidermis or part or all of the dermis.

Abrasions are evaluated, cleansed, and debrided similarly to lacerations. They are harder to anesthetize, however, which is particularly problematic when large amounts of dirt, stones, or glass are embedded as is frequently the case, particularly with deep, scraping wounds; a regional nerve block or IV sedation may be needed.

Treatment

  • Cleansing

  • Antibiotics

After thoroughly removing all debris (vigorous scrubbing may be needed), antibiotic ointment (eg, bacitracin, bacitracin/neomycin/polymyxin) and a nonadherent gauze dressing that is impermeable to bacteria can be applied.

Other commercial wound dressings may be used; the goals are to keep the wound from drying out, because drying interferes with re-epithelialization, and to keep the dressing from adhering. Close observation and follow-up are necessary if defects are large, to check for purulent discharge (indicating infection) or lack of wound healing.

* This is the Professional Version. *