When And Why a Wound May Require Stitches?

Most people know how to deal with everyday cuts, scrapes, burns etc but sometimes wounds may require more than giving first-aid and putting on a wound dressing. Some types of wounds require to be stitched in order to properly heal. The types of wounds that may require stitches include incisions, lacerations and punctures.

So how do you know which wounds may need stitches and how soon it should be done? The first thing to do is to clean the wound and make sure that the bleeding (if any) stops. Afterward, check the edges of the wound if they are close together or far apart. Some of the instances when stitches may be required include:

-Gaping wounds that are more than a quarter of an inch deep

-If the fat, muscles or bone visible inside the wound

-Wounds in areas with high blood flow such as fingers

-Wounds that are ¾ of an inch or longer and are also deep

-Body parts where scarring is a concern such as the face or eyelids

-Wounds on joints which open up with the movement

-If bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes

Getting stitches in a timely manner is also important to prevent complications. Some of the factors to help determine how soon a wound should be stitched are:

-Infections are one of the most serious complications in a wound. Dirty wounds are normally stitched within six hours but in some instances like wounds with a heightened risk of infection, are left open for up to 24 hours. This is done to assist in keeping the wound clean and to apply antibiotics as needed.

-Cuts from sharp objects that are clean, can be left for up to 24 hours to be closed but wounds from dirty or rusty objects require a different protocol.

Once the wound is stitched, you can't just forget about it. It will need close monitoring and observation. Normally, after putting in stitches, an antibiotic ointment may be applied and a bandage placed on the wound. The doctor will advise about how long you should keep the wound dry. Some redness, swelling or irritation can occur on the wound site. However, if it becomes really painful and uncomfortable, the doctor should be consulted. Depending upon the location and condition of the wound, stitches can be left from 4 to 14 days.

After all of this is done, one little detail still remains and that is removal of stitches. Most people cringe at the thought but it is not as bad as it is believed to be. While removing the stitches, the wound is first cleaned and then stitches are cut and carefully removed. In most cases, the patient only feels a slight pull or tug on the skin.