A GP guide to paediatric facial trauma and scars

Facial lacerations in children are a common presentation in primary care, so it's worth being aware of these key management principles.

Need to know:

  • Regardless of the location of a facial laceration, the key management principles are the following:
    • To exclude deeper structure injury with physical examination.
    • To perform thorough debridement/irrigation of the wounds.
    • To ensure closure of the skin without tension.
  • Be wary of deeper injuries to facial bones or lacerations caused by glass.
  • Scar management should start early. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Moisturiser, paper tape, sunscreen (and possibly silicone tape) are the extent of what most children will need.

Facial trauma is extremely common in the paediatric population, and a significant proportion of injuries can be managed in the primary care setting.

The most important step in management is to screen for associated injuries, such as concussion, cervical spine