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Removing an Object From a Wound

Topic Overview

In the following situations, do not try to remove an object from the wound. Seek medical treatment immediately.

  • Do not remove an object that has punctured and penetrated the eyeball. Note: Do not bandage or put any pressure on the eye. If an object has penetrated the eyeball, hold the object in place to prevent further movement and injury to the eye.
  • If the wound is serious enough because of its location or depth that you are going to seek medical treatment, it is usually best to leave the object in place. Stabilize the object by holding or taping it in place. Splint the limb to help prevent the object from moving. The object can be removed by a doctor.

If the object has fallen out or has been removed, always check to see if the object that caused the wound is intact. If part of the object is still in the wound, it is usually best to have it removed by a doctor. If possible, take the broken object with you. Objects made of organic material, such as wood, may not be visible on X-ray and can be hard to remove, even by a doctor.

If the object is small and sticking out of the wound or visible in the wound, remove it with clean tweezers. Use care not to push the object farther into the wound. Bleeding may increase when the object is removed. If the object is hard to remove, leave it in place for removal by your doctor.

When an object is left in a wound, the chance of infection increases and the wound may not heal. Suspect that an object is still in the wound if:

  • The object that caused the puncture wound is not intact.
  • Pain significantly increases when pressure is applied to the wound.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised June 6, 2012

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