Entrance vs. Exit Gunshot Wounds

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“Comet-Tailed” Abrasion Collar. The “comet tail” abrasion collar located on the lateral aspect of the wound indicates that the bullet entered the wound at an angle. The “comet tail” also indicates the bullet’s direction of travel: from left to right. (Photo contributor: William S. Smock, MD.)


Exit Gunshot Wound. Stellate tears in an exit wound from a .22 caliber long rifle bullet that impacted the radius and ulna. The stellate configuration of an exit wound should not be confused with that of a contact wound. Exit wounds lack soot and seared skin. (Photo contributor: William S. Smock, MD.)



Read about gunshot wounds in context:

The Atlas of Emergency Medicine, 4e: Chapter 19. Clinical Forensic Medicine

Read about gunshot wounds:

Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide, 8e: Chapter 257. Head Trauma

CURRENT Diagnosis and Treatment Emergency Medicine, 8e: Chapter 24. Chest Trauma > Penetrating Trauma

Medical Management of Vulnerable and Underserved Patients: Principles, Practice, and Populations, 2e: Chapter 36. Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care > Conditions Related to Trauma


Melanie Allison, DNP, MSN, RN, ACNP-BC

Executive Editorial Specialist, McGraw-Hill Education

Melanie Allison is the Executive Manager of Education & Learning with McGraw Hill. She earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree and Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Education from The Johns Hopkins University. She earned her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, specializing as an acute care nurse practitioner (ACNP), from Vanderbilt University. Melanie has more than 20 years of experience as a registered nurse and nurse practitioner in adult cardiology and advanced lipid management. She is a part-time faculty member at a top school of nursing where she has taught for more than 15 years.

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