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   Laceration is a disruption of the continuity of tissue caused by a blunt force.  

  Here the full thickness of the skin, subcutaneous tissues, muscle and/or the internal organs can get involve.



    ?  Features of a laceration

         Should observe the margins, ends, hair, hair bulbs and the floor




                                                         Types of lacerations

  1. Split lacerations   : caused by compression of the skin between the weapon & bone                             

                                       e.g. a blow with a heavy blunt weapon on head, face, lateral & back of elbow, shin of the leg / hip

  2.  Torn lacerations  : caused by a projecting surface of an object being dragged over the the skin 

                                        e.g. road traffic accidents , machinery accidents

 3.  Stretch lacerations   : caused by a heavy blunt impact on a fixed, localized area of skin causing the skin to overstretch

e.g. machinery injuries 

 4.  Perforated lacerations   : caused by objects capable of penetrating the skin

e.g.  missiles of firearms, shrapnel from explosions

5.  Blast lacerations  : caused by local blast effect of expanding gases

                                        e.g.  blast injuries

6.  Cut lacerations  : caused by blunted sharp weapons 

                                         e.g. ice picks, blade of a mammoty

7.  Crush lacerations  : occurs  as a result of crush injury where the injury is caused by protruding bone fragments

                                         e.g. crush injury of the head

8. De-gloved lacerations   : caused by grinding force over the body resulting peeling off of the skin from underlying tissues

e.g. road traffic accident


                                               Medico legal importance

  • Gives a clue about the weapon used (but not the shape of the weapon 

            - Indicates blunt trauma

              - sometimes the shape of laceration gives a clue about the features of the weapon                


  • May indicate the point of impact of the weapon (e.g. split lacerations)

  The arrow shows the direction of a impact . At the point of impact the skin splits cleanly and the torn skin is either everted or inverted.


The arrow shows the rolled off edges with hair follicles everted. The point of impact is where the bone is seen.   






  • A laceration can be categorized  for legal purposes                          

                     e.g. A laceration over the face results in a permanent scar  which is grievous  

                           lacerations of an internal organ may endanger life   


  • Useful in determining the time of injury / trauma


  • Suggests the circumstances of injury e.g. homicide or accident.  It is rarely seen in suicides and if found is most likely seen in psychiatric patients