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Laceration Repair: A Practical Approach.

The goals of laceration repair are to achieve hemostasis and optimal cosmetic results without increasing the risk of infection. Many aspects of laceration repair have not changed over the years, but there is evidence to support some updates to standard management. Studies have been unable to define a "golden period" for which a wound can safely be repaired without increasing risk of infection. Depending on the type of wound, it may be reasonable to close even 18 or more hours after injury. The use of nonsterile gloves during laceration repair does not increase the risk of wound infection compared with sterile gloves. Irrigation with potable tap water rather than sterile saline also does not increase the risk of wound infection. Good evidence suggests that local anesthetic with epinephrine in a concentration of up to 1:100,000 is safe for use on digits. Local anesthetic with epinephrine in a concentration of 1:200,000 is safe for use on the nose and ears. Tissue adhesives and wound adhesive strips can be used effectively in low-tension skin areas. Wounds heal faster in a moist environment and therefore occlusive and semiocclusive dressings should be considered when available. Tetanus prophylaxis should be provided if indicated. Timing of suture removal depends on location and is based on expert opinion and experience.

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