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CUTS & WOUNDS HEALING TIME

Wound healing time means the amount of time it takes for your skin and underlying tissues to meet and fuse after a discontinuation of their surface by trauma. This can be as trivial as a paper cut, to as severe as a road traffic accident. The healing process in each attempts to connect like with like - skin to skin, muscle to muscle, bone to bone - and close exposure to the open air and germs.

Average Wound Healing Times

Type of Wound    Time to Heal the Cut
Paper Cut            1 week
Pin prick              1 week
Nail puncture       1-2 weeks
Eye abrasion       1-2 weeks
Amputation          4-6 weeks
Razor Cut            1-2 weeks
Kitchen Knife       2-3 weeks
Surgical Incision  2-4 weeks

What Factors Affect Wound and Cut Healing Time?

  • Age. Younger persons heal faster.

  • Genetics. Some people simply heal faster than others with similar wounds. I've also seen some patients that don't bleed with punctures. 

  • Size of the wound. Big wounds require more resources and complexity of repair than small ones.

  • Location of the wound. Wounds on the lip e.g. heal faster than say, on a knee because it is more vascular (higher nutritive blood flow) and has a higher cellular replacement rate.

  • How deep the wound is. The deeper a wound is, the more layers are penetrated increasing the complexity of repair.

  • How close the edges of skin are. If they are touching healing is very fast as there is less distance for the skin to traverse to meet its neighbor. This is why we stitch gaping wounds and cuts together at the ER - to arrest bleeding and speed healing with less of a scar later.

  • Complications in the wound such as germs or grit will frustrate and delay healing time.

  • Nutrition deficiencies such as protein, vit C, or metabolic disorders such as diabetes slow wound healing rates.

  • Medications may slow, accelerate, or otherwise interfere in wound healing.

  • Poor lifestyle choices such as smoking and excessive alcohol will delay wound healing time by toxin exposure to the replacement cells.

Even after a wound fuses healing continues hidden from view. The wound continues to strengthen and consolidate itself. Scarring happens because the body attempts to shore up the area of injury to prevent a recurrence predicated on its 'use it or lose it, abuse it get more of it' operating algorithm.

Wound Healing Time by Second Intention

We say that a wound is left to heal by second intention when it is gaping and left to fill in for itself. This takes much longer than a wound where the edges are literally touching as the distance the skin and underlying tissues must traverse is much greater. This option is typically taken if a wound is infected, or too large to pull together with stitches, or at a flexion point which would be under too much tension if stitches were placed.

Wound Healing Time by Third Intention

Third intention wound healing is effected by skin grafts. The aim is that by doing so for large wounds, we can speed their healing by providing the area with a shortcut.