How to Tell If a Wound Needs Stitches
You accidentally made a cut, and it looks pretty serious. Although sutures can help wounds heal and reduce scarring, it is sometimes difficult to judge whether such open wounds need sutures. If you are really unsure and don't want to go to the hospital for nothing, then you can judge by yourself whether an open wound needs professional treatment by using the methods described below.
A. Reasons for needing immediate medical attention
1. Try to stop the bleeding. Elevate the injured area above the heart to reduce bleeding. Gently press the wound with a clean cotton cloth or slightly damp towel for five minutes. Then remove the cotton cloth or towel and check to see if the wound is still bleeding.
If the bleeding persists, do not try other methods and go to the hospital for treatment immediately.
If the bleeding is severe and blood keeps gushing out of the wound, call the ambulance right away. This could be life-threatening.
2. Check the wound for foreign objects. If there is a foreign body in the wound, you need to seek medical attention right away. Not only is there a risk of infection with a foreign body in the wound, but it is also necessary to determine if and how the foreign body can be safely removed, and whether the wound should be sutured or not.
Do not remove foreign objects from the wound without authorization. Sometimes these foreign bodies just act to stop the bleeding. As soon as something gets inserted into the wound, you need to go to the emergency room right away.
3. If you are bitten by a person or animal, see a doctor immediately. These wounds are highly susceptible to infection, and you may need vaccinations and antibodies to prevent infection. So no matter whether the wound needs stitches or not, you should receive professional treatment in this case.
4. Consider the need for suture in combination with the injured part. If the injured part is on the face, hands, mouth, or vulva, you still need to see a doctor, one is for aesthetics, and the other is to make the wound heal better.
B. Determining whether the wound needs sutures
1. Figure out why the wound is being sutured. The most common reasons for sutures are:
The wound is too large to heal on its own. Stitching the edges of the wound with a needle and thread will help the wound heal.
Prevent an infection. If the wound is a large opening, stitching it up with a needle and thread can minimize the risk of infection. Because open wounds, especially large open wounds, are most susceptible to infection.
Stitching the wound can reduce scarring. If the injured part is located on the face, etc., it may affect the appearance, and it is even more necessary to suture the wound.
2. Look at how deep the wound is. If the depth of the wound exceeds 0.5 cm, sutures are necessary. If the wound is deep enough to see yellow fatty tissue or even bone, it's definitely time to see a doctor.
3. Look at how wide the wound is. Do your wounds close together by themselves? Or does it require external force to gather it to cover the tissue inside the wound? If the wound requires an external force to close, it means that sutures are necessary. Closing the wound with a needle and thread will allow the wound to close, which will speed up the healing process.
4. Look at the location of the wound. If it is an open wound and the injured area is in an area of constant movement, stitches should be sutured to prevent the wound from opening again during physical activity and stretching of the skin. For example, sutures are required when the wound is on the knee joint or fingers (especially the knuckles), but not necessarily when the wound is on the thigh muscle.
5. Ask your doctor to give you the tetanus vaccine. Tetanus vaccines are valid for no more than ten years, so you will need to re-vaccinate after the expiration date. If you have an open wound and you were vaccinated against tetanus ten years ago, you still have to go to the hospital.
When you get to the hospital, you can ask your doctor to see if your wound needs stitches.