What Types of Wounds Require Stitches?

What Types of Wounds Require Stitches?

Your skin is your first line of defense against disease and injury, and because it is the first part of your body with which the outside world comes in contact, people find themselves dealing with cuts, scrapes, and scratches all the time. Many wounds are minor and require little attention, but lacerations from cuts, punctures, and other wounds result in an estimated 7-9 million emergency room visits annually

So how do you know when a cut requires medical attention, and what types of lacerations require stitches or other treatment? Let’s look at some common causes of wounds, determine what makes a wound serious, and which kinds require medical attention.

Patients in the Little River, South Carolina area looking for treatment of lacerations, bruises, and other injuries can get help from Dr. Rogers Walker and the skilled medical team at Walker Urgent & Family Care. We offer compassionate, comprehensive care for a variety of medical needs for the whole family.

Common causes of wounds

There are four types of open wounds: abrasions, lacerations, punctures, and avulsions. Abrasions are scrapes against hard surfaces that can lead to bleeding; lacerations are deep cuts or tearing of the skin; punctures are holes in your skin caused by pointed objects; and avulsions are a partial or complete tearing away of skin and tissue beneath. These are often caused by:

Determining when a wound is serious

Minor wounds can be treated with basic first aid care at home, generally with an antiseptic to clean the wound, washing to clear any debris, and direct pressure to control bleeding. 

Some wounds can make it hard to determine if medical treatment is necessary if the severity isn’t immediately present on the skin, even after basic first aid is applied (this can happen with deep lacerations or punctures as they may not show how deep the wound is). 

But if after you’ve applied first aid there is no improvement, the wound is bleeding out or showing signs of infection, get emergency treatment as soon as possible. 

Types of cuts that need stitches

Here are the types of wounds for which you will need stitches:

Large wounds

If your wound is deeper or longer than a half inch, deep enough that fatty tissue, muscle or bone is exposed, or is wide or gaping, it will need stitching.

Bleeding wounds

If after applying direct pressure on the wound for 10 minutes, the wound doesn’t stop bleeding, then it likely needs stitches. A squirting wound indicates a severed artery meaning other medical means of stopping the bleeding will be necessary to manage it before stitching.

Location specific wounds

Wounds on your joints (which may risk damage to tendons and ligaments), near your genitals, or on your face (eyelid lacerations could potentially impair vision) will need stitching.

Cause of wound

Puncture wounds from animal bites and foreign objects (nails, debris, or broken glass) will need stitching and antibiotic treatment to prevent infection. Bites, in particular, run the risk of rabies infection, a virus that can affect your central nervous system.

Knowing when to get medical attention for cuts, punctures, or other wounds can be important to avoid severe complications, so be sure to seek help when wounds are too difficult to manage on your own. If you’re dealing with a wound that needs stitches, contact Dr. Walker and Walker Urgent & Family Care today.

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