How to tell if you need stitches

 In stitches

How to tell if you need stitches

Like all types of accidents, falls, cuts and deep scratches happen. Having a bleeding wound can be alarming and knowing whether or not you need to get stitches isn’t always easy.

One important thing to remember is your risk of infection increases the longer the wound remains open. Most wounds that require closure should be stitched, stapled, or closed with skin adhesive (also called liquid stitches) within 6 to 8 hours after the injury. Some wounds that require treatment can be closed as long as 24 hours after the injury.

You most likely need stitches if:

  • The wound is more than 0.25 inches deep, has jagged edges, or is gaping open.
  • You can see the down to the fat, muscle, bone, or other deep structures.
  • It’s a deep wound over a joint, especially if the wound opens when the joint is moved or if pulling the edges of the wound apart shows fat, muscle, bone, or joint structures.
  • The wounds is on the hands or fingers.
  • If you’re cut and bleeding on the face, lips, or any area where you are worried about scarring (for cosmetic reasons). Wounds on the eyelids often need treatment for both functional and cosmetic reasons.
  • The wound is longer than 0.75 in. and deeper than 0.25 in.
  • You’ve put pressure on the wound for 15 minutes and it’s still bleeding.

“Wash the wound well and stop the bleeding, then pinch the sides of the wound together. If treatment may be needed, do not use an antiseptic or antibiotic ointment until after a doctor has examined the wound.” says Dr. Marco Coppola, Chief Medical Officer.

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