Caring for sutures

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Stitches or sutures are commonly used in repairing wounds. Other methods that are used to repair wounds include adhesive glues, skin closure tapes and surgical staples. Always remember that sutures are utilized for closing a particular wound. Sutures are categorized in two – absorbable and non-absorbable. The absorbable sutures dissolve after some time while the non-absorbable must be removed at a time set by the doctor.

Home care for sutures

Simply leave the original bandages on the wound for the initial 24 hours.

Both the non-absorbable and absorbable sutures must be taken care of in order to prevent infection and other complications from developing.

  • You have to keep the wound clean and dry at all times. Do not soak the wound in water thus the individual must avoid washing dishes, baths, swimming or hot tubs until the stitches are removed or after about two weeks if the absorbable suture was used.
  • Simply leave the original bandages on the wound for the initial 24 hours. After this time, rinsing is recommended instead of bathing.
  • After the first day, the old bandages must be removed and cleanse the wound in a gentle manner using water and soap or peroxide in half-strength. The cleaning must be done two times in a day in order to prevent the build-up of debris that can cause a bigger scar. Take note that the presence of debris will make the removal of the suture somewhat painful, more difficult and can even increase the risk for an infection.

When to call a doctor

A wound that is deep, more than ¼ inch long with profuse bleeding or located in a sensitive or aesthetically important part of the body would require emergency care. Take note that all wounds and sutured areas tend to scar and if the individual is considered for aesthetic purposes, it is best to consult a plastic surgeon for special suturing methods to minimize the any permanent scarring.

In case the sutures are in place, you have to check the wound with the suture every time the bandages are changed. Check for signs and symptoms of infection such as swelling, increased pain, redness, fever, oozing of pus, red-colored streaks radiating from the wound and separation of the wound. Once any of these symptoms develop, it is important to consult a doctor right away for proper evaluation. In most cases, the doctor will start an antibiotic course.

You should also schedule an appointment with the doctor if there is constant bleeding and for the removal of the sutures. In some cases, the doctor who placed the sutures would require checking the wound usually two days after the placement and a follow-up checkup. In case the sutures fall out before the scheduled time for removal, call the doctor since the wound has the tendency to open up, thus resulting to a bigger scar.

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