How to Tell If Your Cut or Laceration Needs Stitches

June 1, 2021

How to Tell If Your Cut or Laceration Needs Stitches

Everyone gets cuts from time to time, but some are worse than others. While you might not realize that your cut needs stitches in the moment, there are some tell-tale signs that your wound might need additional medical attention.

Our AFC Urgent Care Farragut team highlights some of those signs below, so keep reading!

  • Here’s what to do: Check the size of your cut. If your cut or laceration is deeper or longer than half an inch, has ragged edges and/or is deep enough that fatty tissue, muscle or bone is exposed, you’ll need stitches.
  • What to do next: Monitor the amount the cut is bleeding. A laceration that is bleeding profusely and doesn’t stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure likely requires stitches.
  • Something else to look out for: What caused your cut? Things like animal bites or pointed metal objects can cause infection, so they will sometimes require antibiotics in addition to stitches.
  • One more thing to keep in mind: Where is your cut located? Lacerations on certain parts of the body, like the joints, hand, near the eye or around the genital area can cause lots of bleeding. Cuts or lacerations on or around these areas will likely need to be stitched up.
  • What to do after: If your cut or laceration shows these signs, visit our AFC right away to avoid infection or excessive blood loss.
  • Signs of infection to watch out for: If you aren’t convinced that the laceration needs to be stitched up because of the wound itself, be on the lookout for signs of infection. If there are things like redness around the laceration, increased swelling, pus, drainage or red streaks spreading out from the wound, it’s likely that it’s infected and will need both antibiotics and stitches.
  • Action steps to take: Following a laceration, there are some things you can do to doctor the wound before getting sutures. These things include applying pressure using a clean cloth or bandage and elevating the injured area, rinsing the wound under cold water, and covering the laceration with dry gauze or a bandage.
  • Doctor recommendations: It’s best to seek medical attention immediately for lacerations that make you think twice. Even if you don’t know whether your laceration needs to be stitched up, getting the correct diagnosis from one of our doctors will give you peace of mind and will ensure that the wound heals properly.

Do you think you might need stitches? We can help, so don’t hesitate to visit our AFC Urgent Care Farragutcenter today.

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