Does my cut need stitches ?
Monday, July 29th, 2013
Wound repair is one of the procedures we perform frequently at Suncoast Urgent Care. When our skin is "cut" there is a risk of infection and there is always scar formation, that is the only way for skin to heal.
What is important is that a professional determine whether the cut needs to have stitches placed to help close the wound. If the wound is very small, or if it does not penetrate the skin too deeply stitches or skin adhesive can be avoided. Cleaning the wound thoroughly is the highest priority to minimize any chance of infection. Secondly, if the wound penetrates the skin completely the structures beneath the skin must be explored to ensure there is no injury to blood vessels, ligaments , tendons or muscles. After exploration and thorough washing of the wound it is closed with sterile stitches.
Closing wounds minimizes the risk of infection and results in smaller scars as it assists the body in going through the stages of wound healing that always follow an injury. By closing the wound the body has less work to do to heal itself by creating a line of scar tissue.
When there is any doubt about a cut it is always best to have it evaluated. We will also make sure your tetanus vaccination status is up to date.
Prior to wound preparation a cut is anesthetized (numbed) with lidocaine to ensure there is no discomfort while we clean and close it.
Some wounds can be closed with skin adhesive. This is a glue which can be applied over the wound. Your provider will discuss the pros and cons of glue versus stitches if they are both options.