DOI: 10.12968/jowc.2024.33.2.127 ISSN: 0969-0700

Scalp wound management: a narrative review from a neurosurgical perspective

Santiago Cardona, Carolina Hernández, Maria Paz Bohórquez-Tarazona, Andrés M Rubiano, Diana Marcela Sánchez Parra
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)
  • Fundamentals and skills


This article aims to present a narrative review of current literature about the anatomical characteristics of the scalp as well as current practices in the management of surgical, traumatic and pressure injuries in the scalp, which are common in neurosurgery practice.


We searched PubMed for publications and book chapters in English from 2011 to 2021. We also included commonly referenced papers that we considered relevant to the subject with publication before these dates. We used the search terms ‘laceration,’ and/or ‘neurosurgery’ and/or, ‘pressure injury,’ and/or ‘craniotomy,’ and/or ‘surgical incision’ in combination with ‘scalp,’ and/or ‘wound care.’ We also searched the reference lists of publications identified by the search strategy and selected those that we judged relevant.


We pre-selected 52 articles that covered various aspects of anatomy, pathophysiology, scalp wound management, or general wound care that we considered applied to the anatomical region of our interest. After abstract review, we selected 34 articles that met our search criteria and were included in our review.


There is limited evidence regarding classification and care of scalp wounds. As a result, many of the current practices for scalp wound management are based on evidence derived from studies involving different anatomical regions, not considering its particular anatomy, vasculature and microbiome. Further research is needed for more comprehensive and effective protocols for the management of scalp injuries. However, this present review proposes responses to the identified gaps concerning the management of scalp wounds.

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