Punctured Wounds (Stabs)


  • These are termed ‘penetrating’ wounds when passing through the tissues. They enter a cavity of the body, such as the thorax or abdomen. Such wounds are produced by a piercing or stabbing object, such as a pin, needle, knife, scissors, pickaxe, arrow, etc. A punctured wound caused by a sharp-pointed and cutting object has clean-cut edges which are almost parallel but slightly curved towards each other and have sharp angles at the two extremities. An object having one cutting and one blunt edge will show a certain amount of bruising and raggedness at one end of the wound.
  • The wound is generally wedge-shaped, if it is produced by an object with a thick, broad back and only one cutting edge and circular or slit-like opening if produced by sharp-pointed and cylindrical or conical object. The aperture of a punctured wound in the skin is usually smaller in length than the breadth of the weapon used. It is sometimes larger as the weapon enlarges the wound, if it is withdrawn with lateral movement.
  • The depth of a punctured wound is much larger than its length or width, and may be equal to or less than the length of the blade of the object causing it. In some cases the depth may even be greater than the length of the blade owing to the fact that the force of the blow may depress the tissues of the part struck, allowing the point to reach the deeper tissues such as in the abdomen.
  • There may be very little external haemorrhage and yet profuse haemorrhage may take place internally owing to some vital organ having been penetrated.
  • In the case of a perforating wound, there are two wounds, one, the wound of entry and the other, the wound of exit. The wound of entry is usually larger with inverted edges and the wound of exit is smaller and has everted edges. The edges of the entrance wound may be found everted, when the weapon used is rough and rusty.
  • In some cases two or more punctures may be found in the soft parts with only one external orifice. This shows that the object had been partially withdrawn after it pierced the tissues, and thrust again in a new direction.
  • Sometimes it is argued that a punctured wound may have been caused by a fall on a sharp-pointed piece of an earthenware pot or broken glass. In that case the edges of the wound are irregular and more or less bruised, and fragments of such article may be found embedded in the soft tissues.
Last modified: Tuesday, 5 June 2012, 11:45 AM