The Pulse

Does That Cut Require Stitches?

Posted by SFSH on April 30, 2019

We’re all human and, with that, come everyday cuts and scrapes. Whether you slip cutting vegetables in the kitchen, catch your arm on a nail in the garage or trip and scrape your knee, it can be tough to determine how serious the cut is and whether or not it will require stitches. A shallow cut from a clean knife in the kitchen is less likely to need medical attention than a deep, jagged cut from a dirty nail. However, it’s best to consult with a doctor if you’re worried a wound will need stitches or glue. 

Read on for a few key characteristics of cuts that warrant a trip to the doctor.

How Deep is the Cut?

One of the most obvious signs that a cut is in need of stitches is the depth of the wound. Cuts that are particularly deep, especially those that go down to the bone or expose muscle, should be seen by a doctor. It is unlikely that they will heal nicely on their own. 

How Wide is the Cut?
The wider the wound, the more difficult it will be for it to close and heal appropriately. You can easily gauge particularly wide cuts by attempting to lightly pinch the two sides of the wound together. If the two sides do not easily connect, then the wound will not be able to heal properly without being held together by glue or stitches.

Where is the Cut?

Not all cuts are created equal. We are generally more concerned about cuts on more noticeable parts of our body, such as our face, than less noticeable areas, such as our legs. When it comes to facial wounds, it is always safer to seek a doctor’s help than allow the wound to heal on its own, risking an unnecessary and noticeable facial scar.

How Clean is the Cut?

When a dirty wound heals without first being cleaned by a medical professional, it becomes much more prone to infection than a clean wound. If, in the process of receiving the cut, debris, dirt, or any other foreign substances fall into the opening and cannot easily be washed out, that’s a sign that you should see a doctor to ensure the wound is appropriately cleaned and allowed to heal properly.

Was it a Bite?

Regardless of where they came from, bites are dirty cuts across the board. Humans and animals alike have dirty mouths, and saliva in an open wound can result in infection that could lead to more severe issues down the road. If you’ve received a bite that broke skin, see a doctor immediately to have the wound cleaned.

 

The longer you wait, the less likely it is that your cut or wound can be treated with stitches or glue. If you receive a cut that you think might need medical attention, it’s important to get into a doctor as quickly as possible, so that the wound can be stitched up before it has a chance to heal. The rule of thumb is that new wounds should be stitched or glued shut within six to eight hours after the injury. If you suspect that a cut might need stitches, stop by Sioux Falls Urgent Care immediately. We are open 7 days a week for your convenience. Left untreated, these cuts can lead to infections and unsightly scars that could easily be avoided with a timely trip to the clinic. 

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