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Lacerations: Urgent Care or Emergency Room? - Legacy ER

  • Category: Injuries
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Jay Woody

Lacerations are deep cuts of the skin varying in depth, length, and width. It’s produced when the softer body tissue tears in an irregular or jagged formation. Because lacerations are prone to introducing bacteria and contamination, they must adequately be cleaned and taken care of to ensure the healing process can begin with no complications.

Treating a wound

Depending on the type of laceration, you may be able to provide wound care at home, but if you do need care, is an urgent care center or emergency room the better option? Both offer treatment, but one is often more costly than the other, and that shouldn’t prevent you from advising a medical professional to determine the severity of your medical needs. Here are some tips to help you make that call.

Urgent care centers are a great alternative to an emergency room visit if you experience a laceration to the skin. They have shorter wait times, are more cost-effective, and require no appointment to visit. When dealing with a skin injury, a walk-in clinic is an excellent option to receive treatment quickly, effectively, and with quality care.

An urgent care center can help treat lacerations if:

  • You can stop the bleeding by applying pressure
  • The edges of your cut are straight
  • Your injury is on an area other than the face or head

But in some events, an emergency room visit for a laceration is the best option for medical treatment.

Here are some signs that the ER is the best option:

  • You are unable to stop the bleeding after applying pressure for ten minutes
  • If the blood is squirting out of the injury
  • If there is a large quantity of blood
  • If any internal structures can be seen through the cut such as bone, fat or muscle
  • If there is a foreign object embedded in the wound. Do not attempt to remove the object yourself
  • If you were cut by a rusty object
  • If the cut has jagged edges
  • If parts of your flesh or limbs have been removed

There is also the possibility that lacerations need to be stitched with sutures to aid the healing process. If the wound goes deeper than ¼ of an inch or longer than ½ inch, has jagged edges, or won’t stop bleeding, chances are stitches should be administered.

Once your lacerations receive the proper attention from a healthcare professional, it is crucial to adhere to all recommendations for wound care.

Some tips include:

  • Gently rinse with distilled water.
  • Avoiding hydrogen peroxide unless otherwise directed.
  • Allowing proper airflow to the injury by not overusing bandages.
  • Maintaining adequate hygiene to support the healing process.

If you experience a laceration and aren’t sure whether you need medical attention, pay attention to all signs and symptoms that suggest a medical professional should care for your wound. If you feel it’s a true emergency, don’t hesitate to call 911. For all others, Legacy ER & Urgent Care is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, seven days a week. No appointments are necessary; however, pre-registration is available.

As part of Intuitive Health’s innovative medical system combining emergency room and urgent care services, Legacy ER & Urgent Care provides quality medical services at affordable prices. Located across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Legacy ER & Urgent Care is focused on transparency, excellent customer service, and providing patients with treatment options from professional and highly-trained medical staff. With a total of six ER and walk-in clinic locations across North Texas, emergency and non-emergent care are accessible now more than ever before.

Learn more about Legacy ER & Urgent Care by visiting