A wound is any injury that causes damage to the skin or other body tissue. They range from minor and annoying to life-threatening. Common wounds include cuts, burns, and scrapes. For minor injuries, cleaning the wound and covering it is usually sufficient for healing. More serious wounds, however, may need the help of a professional to heal properly. Doctors can repair or close wounds with stitches, staples, glue, or adhesive strips, depending on the depth and size of the wound.
There are many benefits to wound repair. An open wound can easily get infected and cause further complications. Unhealed wounds may be painful and continue bleeding. If a wound does heal on its own, it is more likely to leave a scar, and irregular injuries can heal crooked, leaving puckers in the skin.
In some cases, even with stitches a wound may not heal well. Patients with wounds that have not significantly improved after several weeks are often referred to a wound care specialist. These health care providers have the skills, equipment, and procedures specifically for helping stubborn wounds heal, including hyperbaric oxygen treatment and negative pressure therapy.
If an injury will not stop bleeding, is particularly deep or long, or has irregular edges that do not fit together well, it is a good idea to get it checked by a physician.