Facial lacerations : Emergency Room
Lacerations on your face are usually pretty serious, as they can lead to infections, scarring, and disfigurement. To ensure that a facial laceration heals correctly and with as little scarring as possible, you should always go straight to an emergency room or urgent care facility. These medical professionals will clean out any dirt or bacteria in your wound and will also perform stitches so you don’t end up with an unsightly scar. Also, many health insurance companies will only cover facial lacerations if they were treated at an emergency room or urgent care center; going elsewhere could result in a large bill.
While these injuries may look serious, your risk of infection and additional injury is relatively low. Typically, a small laceration can be effectively cleaned in an urgent care clinic. A deeper wound may need stitches—you can find out more information about stitches here. In some cases, you may even want to consider putting off treatment until the morning if you have other pressing appointments planned for that day. In addition, it’s a good idea to practice consistent wound care by washing them twice daily with warm water and soap and rinsing well. If you notice that your laceration has not healed after three days or if it is still bothering you, call your primary doctor or visit an urgent care clinic immediately.
If your wound is bleeding a lot, if you can’t stop it from bleeding, or if it might need stitches, go straight to an emergency room. But if you get a clean (or mostly clean) laceration—one that does not involve any deep tissues like muscle or bone—you should be able to treat it at home with no problems. If that’s true for you and your injury isn’t too traumatic, then stay home and take care of it there. Don’t assume that because you want stitches immediately, they will want them immediately as well.
This is one of those odd instances where you don’t know until you see a doctor. For example, a laceration on your lip can be stitched up in an emergency room and patched with dissolvable stitches that dissolve over time. However, if it’s actually caused by another trauma—for example, a gunshot wound—you could require surgery to repair facial nerves, which would be much more expensive than having stitches put in. Before choosing how to treat your laceration, see if you have any other symptoms that might point toward an underlying injury (headache, light sensitivity). If not, then you should probably just go ahead and get stitched up at an urgent care clinic.