Wound Healing after Lancing the Skin

David D. Cunningham, Timothy P. Henning, Douglas F. Young, Enzo Berardesca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diabetic patients lance themselves daily to obtain blood samples for glucose testing, and as reliable devices reach the market, many patients may prefer to test on body sites other than the finger to reduce pain. To date, healing of lancet wounds has not been well studied. This study included seven trials at four locations with 271 total subjects (59 non-diabetic, 212 diabetic) and evaluation of 2707 lancet wounds. A vacuum-lancet device pierced the skin to a depth of 0.4 to 2.1 mm with a 28- or 21-gauge lancet. Finger, forearm, abdomen, and thigh sites were characterized using videomicroscopy. The incidence of bruising and redness of the wound was determined by subject self-appraisal using a common photographic reproduction for comparison. Less erythema was measured on the fingertip than on the other body sites. For type 1 and type 2 diabetic subjects across a range of ages, erythema was resolved at 73 to 85 percent of the sites on the forearm on the third day after lancing. The incidence of bruising was higher for female than for male diabetic subjects (6.5% vs. 2.5%). Resolution of the erythema from lancet wounds on the dorsal forearm was similar for a wide range of lancing depths (0.7-2.1 mm). The visual disappearance of wounds produced by different gauge lancets was similar. Resolution of erythema secondary to lancing the forearm is typically complete in three days or less; however, considerable site-to-site and person-to-person variations are observed. Lancing body sites other than the finger is likely to become a common practice among diabetic patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-137
Number of pages7
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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