1. JadeLiCat
    Offline

    JadeLiCat Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1

    Scars, Cuts, and Bruises

    Discussion in 'Research' started by JadeLiCat, Feb 2, 2012.

    Hi everyone,

    I need some help regarding anatomy for a character I'm writing for. She has a scar on her throat from where someone cut her and I need to make sure I know the correction locations (and names) of the veins that would cause a fatality when cut and the location of areas on the throat that could be cut without cause for death and still leave a physical scar for years to come. I attempted to do some research on the subject on my own, but I can't understand any of it for the life of me. If anyone out there has a understanding of anatomy and thinks they can help me, please let me know.
     
  2. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    just google for 'circulatory system' and hit the 'images' option... you'll get diagrams and all the info you need...

    basically, any vein or artery can be cut and the victim survive with only a scar to show for it, depending on how quickly medical aid is received...
     
  3. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    Ok, basically any significant (deep enough) cut on the neck will leave a scar. Depends where you want that scar to be, you just need to write the injury to be not too deep and medical help to arrive quickly. Also, it may be relevant to distinguish between cut artery and vein.
    Arteries carry oxygenated blood (more red), have muscular walls, they go into spasm when they are cut which, after the initial spray, might temporarily stop the bleeding. Arterial bleed is high pressure, it sprays in pulses (as the heart beats) and goes everywhere.
    Veins have less muscular, thinner walls, and blood in them is dark (not freshly oxygenated) and it gushes (in rhythm with the heartbeat) rather than sprays. But there is no reflex spasm, so venous bleed is less dramatic but more difficult to stop, ie. it takes longer to bleed out than in case of arterial bleed.
    Anyone who looked after the bypass patients on the vascular surgical ward will know this because especially leg bypasses have a nasty habit of re-bleeding in the hours after the surgery. Small bleeds like that are best stopped by compression of the wound, and keeping the pressure on until the clot forms, the bigger the bleed, the longer the pressure needs to be applied (20, 30 minutes or more). But if the bleed is bad enough, the patient might have to be taken back to theatre to stitch up the anastomosis again (anastomosis is when you stitch two ends of a hollow tube together).

    In the neck, two main vessels which are relatively superficial are the carotid artery and jugular vein, they are very close to each other and when the neck is cut on the side, it is common to cut through both at the same time. This will be most quickly fatal.
    As far as fatal cuts are concerned, if you want to write a relatively small cut to be fatal then it needs to be on the side of the neck, about half way up, completely transsecting the jugular vein and/or carotid artery. If a person with transsected jugular is found in time, the ends of the vessel can be clamped, thus stopping the bleeding, and the person may survive. In time, an alternative blood supply develops and it is not a biggie. Clamping the carotid artery can be more tricky because the end typically spring back into the surrounding tissues, but it is also possible because the carotid not uncommonly blocks off in later life, and also alternative blood supply develops.

    And then you have the massive transverse cuts, usually delivered with the head pulled back, from behind, transsecting the trachea and various vessels on both sides. This is most of the time the result of a violent attack, execution style.
    Big cuts on the back of the neck will be running into different structures, but they are less dangerous, in general, although if deep enough, they'll be just as damaging.

    So have a look at that anatomy diagram again, and I am sure you'll be able to make sense of it :)
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. JadeLiCat
    Offline

    JadeLiCat Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'll be sure to give it a second look, maybe I'll understand it better now. Though I still have some questions. You talked about people getting their throat cut when someone is standing behind them. Would the effect be the same if the person had their throat cut when the attacker was in front of them (the person being attacked from the front having their legs and arms held down)? I have an idea of where I want to be and I hesitate to even say this because I don't want anyone to assume I'm being disrespectful to the girl this happened to. I was thinking of having the scar be somewhere in the same area that Krystal Surles's scar is. If you don't know who she is, I would suggest using google to read about the tragic events that happened to her. For those that do know the name and the case, I'm not attempting to be cruel or disrespectful to her or the horrible events that happened to her that caused her to get the scar in the first place.

    But yeah, this is why, among many other reasons, why I wish to be as accurate as I can concerning someone getting their throat cut, so as I said before, any help I can get on this topic would be greatly appreciated.
     
  5. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    It would be much more awkward to try and inflict an ear to ear wound from the front, but it is not impossible. I just googled the girl's name, amazing story, I am so glad she survived!
    I don't see why it would be cruel or disrespectful to locate the scar in the same place, there are many people throughout history who suffered similar if not the same wounds. And you will honour the inspiration if you write a good story with a non-violent message, imo :)
     

Share This Page