What are the signs of a wound which would indicate that for proper healing it will need stitches? First off, stopping the bleeding is always your first priority. Best practice is to use direct pressure upon the wound site. Elevating the wound above the heart is no longer a recommended treatment for bleeding by the American Heart Association.
Clean the wound to remove any dirt or debris. Generally plain soap and water work best. Wounds should be addressed within 8 hours, though in certain situations stitches can be administered up to 24 hours. The longer the delay the higher probability of bacteria setting in. So it is best to get medical attention as soon as reasonably possible.
Now that the bleeding has stopped and the wound has been cleaned, let’s look for certain signs that would indicate sutures or stitches would be required. The following are wounds or cuts that most likely will need the assistance of stitches:
- Any cut that is deep where muscle or yellow fatty tissue is visible.
- Wounds 1 inch or longer in length.
- Cuts around joints, where the movement of the joint would prevent proper healing.
- Jagged or gaping wounds.
- Torn sections with either an open flap or three sides torn away.
- Cuts to the face or head.
The emergency room is well equipped to handle cuts and wounds. These doctors put in stitches several times a day and are well versed in the process, but cuts to the face should be treated by a plastic surgeon to reduce the possibility of excessive scaring.
Stitches can remain in place from 5 to 14 days depending upon the location of the wound. Always keep stitches dry for the first 24 hours to prevent infections. Afterward immediately dry the affected area after bathing. Clean your stitches twice a day and apply an antibiotic ointment. If pus, increased redness and swelling occur or if the wound begins to smell bad, the wound maybe infected and see your physician immediately.