If an individual requires stitches, always remember that you still have to care for the wound until professional help can be sought. When assessing a wound if it requires stitches, there are a number of factors to be considered. Stitches are used for closing a wound to promote the healing process and prevent infection as well as minimize scarring.
Once the wound is located in an area where scarring will be obvious and the wound is deep enough to see the fatty tissue below the skin surface, stitches are needed to minimize the scarring. A doctor should be consulted if the individual is worried about scarring.
What are the types of wounds?
Wounds that involve a break in the skin are called as open wounds and these surely require stitches. As for closed wounds, there is no break in the skin and identified by bruising and swelling.
- Lacerations are simple breaks in the skin
- Punctures are caused by pointed objects which go in and come back out. If the object that caused the puncture is still imbedded, it is called as an impaled object.
- Incisions or surgical wounds are similar to lacerations but have smooth edges
- Abrasions or scratches leaves the skin intact
- Avulsions involves torn sections of skin either an open flap on 3 sides or torn away completely.
Wounds that requires an assessment by a doctor
If these wounds are present, it is best to consult a doctor for further assessment.
- Animal or human bites
- Diabetic individuals with any type of open wound
- Edges or perimeters of the wound could not be closed
- Dirt or debris that are deeply embedded in the wound
- Bleeding that could not be controlled
Can my wounds be stitched?
Punctures, lacerations and incisions are types of wounds that require stitches. Avulsions that have a skin flap attached can also be stitched. Cases of full avulsions and abrasions could not be sutured but must be assessed by a doctor if serious. In case stitches are required, there are 3 things to be considered:
- Depth – If the wound is deep enough to reveal the subcutaneous tissue, it might require stitches.
- Width – In case the wound is gaping and could not be closed easily, it requires stitches in order to keep it closed long enough to promote proper healing of the wound.
- Location – If there are wounds on parts of the body that stretch and move a lot, it requires stitches more often than areas that do not move a lot.
A big concern is how long it has been since the last tetanus vaccination of the individual. Always remember that a booster tetanus shot is recommended every 10 years unless the individual ends up with a dirty wound. In some cases, it is recommended to get a booster shot if it has been more than 5 years.
Generally, if it has been more than 10 years since the last tetanus shot, it is best to consult a doctor. It is also best to have the wound assessed if stitches are needed. Lastly, if the individual is worried about his/her wound and uncertain if it needs professional attention, a doctor should be consulted.