Injuries might happen almost every time. In most cases, cuts, bruises, scrapes, or burns as the results are minor and can be treated at home. Yet, unexpectedly, some wounds might be more severe and need a more complicated medical attention, even some stitches. Hence, it is important to observe the wound to tell whether or not it requires medical sutures.
When should medical attention given to a wound?
Immediate treatment is essential for a proper wound healing—the faster one with minimum scarring. Keeping the wound clean by washing it using tap water and mild soap is recommended. Giving pressure around the wound to let blood cleanse it and promoting blood clot are the next steps. Bandaging and changing the dressing, also applying antibiotic ointment are those crucial treatments which can be done at home. However, some wounds show the signs that it may require medical requirement to prevent more severe damage and infection. The signs you can observe commonly include:
- The wound has debris or dirt left inside, which will be too risky to pick.
- The wound is severely bleeding, and this bleeding won’t stop for more than 10 minutes although pressure has been given.
- The wound is located in body parts with major blood vessels and cause a blood spurt.
- The wounds seem to be deep or gapped.
When should wounds be stitched?
In handling severe wounds, there are some methods of enclosure, including stitches, or known as medical sutures. Some wounds require this procedure to promote a better, faster, and proper healing with minimum scarring. Below signs show you what kinds of wound should be closed by sutures instead of merely wound dressing.
- The wound is caused by clean, sharp objects. Clean here means the objects are not exposed to the possibility of bacteria infestation and dirt.
- The wound is located in body parts requiring a lot of movements and flexibility, where a wound is likely to break or reopen is not sutured.
- The wound is deep. When a wound is deep, layers of skin are affected. Thus, it may not only damage the epidermis, but also the dermis and subcutaneous tissues. To promote better healing by triggering new skin cell formation, sutures might be required for deep, severe wounds.
- Wounds with gaping edges. Sutures will be helpful for enclosing wounds with gaping edges which are not approximate. Hence, the scarring can be minimized by carefully bring the edges together by suturing.
On the contrary, some wounds should not be stitched, not only because it will slow down the entire healing process, but also may instead bring a bigger chance of infection. If you find wounds with these signs, other enclosure method other than sutures might be more beneficial in promoting a good healing and prevent infection.
- The wound is caused by objects contaminated with bacteria and dirt, such as rusty nails and other sharp objects laying on the soil. Enclosing this kind of wounds by suturing will enhance the possibility of infection, as bacteria attached in the objects may be transferred into the wound site. Hence, stitching it may mean trapping the infection cause inside the wound site.
- Deep puncture wounds. This type of wound should not be closed by suturing, because it will inhibit wound drain, which is important for proper healing. Irrigating a deep puncture wound is also not easy, so that other wound enclosing method is recommended rather than medical stitches.
- Injuries which are caused by human or animal bites. Human and animal teeth are the places where bacteria are residing. Hence, wounds which are caused by bites are most likely to be contaminated by bacteria. Thus, healing it by not performing sutures is more recommended.
- Wounds which are left opened for its first 12 hours. Timing is really important to decide whether or not a wound should get stitches. “Golden period” is known as 6-hour period after injuries happen. This is the best time to get a wound stitched closed. On the other hand, wounds which have been left open for more than 12 hours after injuries should not be stitched, as those might have a bigger chance of infection.