A flesh wound is any type of injury that breaks the skin but does not penetrate into any bones or organs. In most cases, the term flesh wound is used to describe a minor injury that can be easily treated and cared for. This type of wound may affect only the outermost layer of skin, causing some minor bleeding, or it may extend down through the entire epidermis and into the muscle tissue. A serious wound of this type may require stitches to close but should not need any other type of medical attention. Patients with these types of wounds should keep them clean because it is possible for them to develop an infection.
There are several types of flesh wound: scratches, cuts, incisions, and punctures can all break open the skin and leave behind a wound that affects only the patient's flesh. Though many of these types of injuries can be more severe, extending down into bones or organs, in order to be considered a flesh wound, the injury must stop short of these parts of the body.
Many different things can cause a flesh wound. Most patients get these wounds as a result of accidents, such as falling or inadvertently bumping into sharp objects. These types of injuries may also occur as a result of a medical procedure, such as surgery. An incision that is made in order to examine or repair internal damage can be considered a flesh wound.
A patient with a flesh wound needs to care for it properly so that it heals quickly and does not become infected. Most flesh wounds bleed, so the first thing a patient should do to treat one is to stop the bleeding by applying pressure with a sterile bandage. If the bleeding is severe, the patient should seek medical attention. Otherwise, when the bleeding stops, the injured area should be washed with soap and water and then covered with a clean, dry bandage. The bandage should be changed at least twice a day until the wound has healed.
More serious wounds may require medical attention. A flesh wound that extends across more than 0.5 inches (about 1 centimeter) of the patient's skin or that penetrates the entire depth of the epidermis may require stitches. A doctor will need to put these stitches into place, and they will either dissolve or be removed when the wound has healed.