Health Watch - Emergency: Scars

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

In an emergency, seconds count and taking the right measures can make the difference between life and death — or at least between major and minor consequences. This week on Health Watch, we’ll talk about responding to emergencies. Knowing the right thing to do can make a difference even with minor injuries.

Dr. James Thornton, a plastic surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says taking proper care of wounds can speed healing and prevent scarring. Apply pressure to the wound with gauze or tissue to control bleeding. Then clean the wound with cold water to remove debris and dirt. If necessary, clean the area around the wound with mild soap, but keep the soap out of the wound to avoid irritation. Apply an antibiotic ointment daily, and cover the wound with a bandage if it’s on an area that will get dirty or be irritated by clothing. If the wound scabs, leave the scab alone. Scabs are nature’s bandages.

Visit  to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in plastic surgery.


November 2009

Health Watch is heard Monday through Friday nationwide on ABC Satellite Radio. Call your local radio station and ask if they carry the program.