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How To Treat an Avulsion


Updated June 12, 2014

Avulsions are basically chunks of tissue removed from the body including at least all three layers of skin. Avulsions are more than simple lacerations and less than amputations.

Avulsions are some of the ugliest injuries, and they come with a high degree of infection - similar to burns. Avulsions are commonly caused by animal bites, industrial equipment, or motor vehicle injuries.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: React quickly

Here's How:

  1. Stay Safe. If you are not the victim, practice universal precautions and wear personal protective equipment if available.

  2. Control bleeding with direct pressure and elevation, avoiding tourniquets unless bleeding cannot be controlled and and medical care will not be available for several hours.
  3. Rinse the wound with water or saline solution, the cleaner the better. Sterile irrigation is the best.
  4. If the tissue (skin, fat, and muscle) is not completely removed, replace the flap and dress the wound. If the tissue is completely separated from the victim's body, collect it if available and bring it with the victim to the emergency department.
  5. Avulsion injuries will often need medical care, especially if the injury was from an animal bite. Bites have a high incidence of infection.
  6. If bleeding cannot be controlled, or if the area of the avulsion cannot be covered by both of the victim's open hands, then call 911.


  1. Do not be afraid to put direct pressure on raw muscle or fat tissue. Use an absorbant dressing or whatever clean cloth is available.

What You Need

  • Exam gloves
  • Trauma dressings or cloths
Related Video
How to Dress a Wound
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  3. First Aid
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  5. Soft Tissue Injuries
  6. Learn Different Ways to Treat an Avulsion

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