HOW LONG IT TAKES FOR CUTS TO HEAL

Cut healing time means the amount of time it takes for your skin and underlying tissues to meet and fuse together after a discontinuation of their contact surface by some 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 Cut Healing Times

Type of Cut    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 cuts faster than others with similar wounds. I've also seen some patients that don't appear to bleed with punctures. 

  • Size of the cut. Big cuts require more resources and complexity of repair than small ones.

  • Location of the cut. 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 cut 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 cuts together at the ER - to arrest bleeding and speed healing with less of a scar later.

  • Complications in the cut 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 cut healing rates.

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

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

Even after a cut 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.

Cut Healing Time by Second Intention

We say that a cut 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.

Cut Healing Time by Third Intention

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

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