An injury is never convenient, and for a child it can be downright scary. When a patient presents with an open wound, often one of the first questions he or she asks is, “Will I need stitches?”
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The decision to suture may depend on the site of the injury in question, patient medical history, and other factors. However, knowing the basics of suturing and when it’s indicated can help ease anxiety about the process.
When Might Stitches Be Indicated?
For shallow wounds, cleaning and covering are sufficient for optimal healing. For larger wounds, stitching may be necessary to prevent infection and speed the healing process. Sutures may be indicated when:
- The cut is deeper than one quarter of an inch
- The cut involved a dirty or rusty object
- The cut still bleeds after 15 minutes of applied pressure
- The cut is in an area of cosmetic concern (i.e., the face)
- Fat, muscle, bone, or other structures are visible
What Kind of Closure Might My Provider Use?
Your provider may use one of several different methods to close a wound:
- Steri-Strips, or butterfly “stitches,” are essentially pieces of tape that adhere better to the surface of the skin. They are better suited to treat superficial wounds, rather than deep ones. Your provider may tell you to wait until the Steri-Strips fall off naturally, or advise you to take them off after a certain number of days.
- Liquid stitches, or skin glue, can be a good choice for children because one can avoid the anxiety of needles. They are best for superficial, straight wounds that are under low-tension like the forehead or chin. It is not good for deep or jagged wounds or wounds overlying high-tension areas like knees and elbows. Be sure to tell your provider if you have a medical condition that causes slow wound healing, such as diabetes.
- Traditional sutures may be absorbable or permanent. Absorbable sutures dissolve over a period of weeks. They are best for areas such as the lining of the mouth, lower layers of skin, and muscles and connective tissue. Permanent sutures, made of nylon or silk, will require follow-up with your provider for removal.
No matter what kind of closure a wound needs, the providers at Premier Urgent Care will treat your condition with compassion and care.
Skip the wait of the emergency room and walk in to our clinic for immediate assistance. Read our blog post Walk-In Clinic or ER to determine where you should go for medical care or visit our Urgent Care Services page for more information.
Better Providers. Better Care.
Learn why patients have come to trust Premier Urgent Care. Visit https://premierucchicago.com.