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Conservative treatment reduced pain and was as effective as sutures in hand lacerations <2 cm

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 QUESTION: In patients with hand lacerations, is conservative treatment as effective as suturing?


Randomised (allocation concealed*), blinded (primary outcome only),* controlled trial with 3 months of follow up.


Emergency department of a university hospital in San Franciso, California, USA.


95 patients (mean age 39 y, 54% men) who had lacerations distal to the volar wrist crease. Exclusion criteria were lacerations >2 cm long; presentation >8 hours after the injury; inability to attain haemostasis after 15 minutes; neurovascular, tendon, or bone injury; lacerations that were of the nail bed, puncture wounds, or secondary to a bite from any source; complications from diabetes; use of anticoagulants; or prolonged use of steroids. Follow up at 3 months was 85%.


Patients were allocated to conservative treatment (n=48) or …

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  • For correspondence: Dr J Quinn, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA. quinnj{at}

  • Source of funding: US National Institutes of Health.

  • *See glossary.