Stitches or surgical sutures are used to hold body tissues together and close up wound edges. Examples of an injury that sometimes requires stitches include a bite, laceration, puncture, or deep cut. A visit to the emergency room or an urgent care center for stitches will stop the bleeding and help repair any damage in the underlying tissue.
If the cut or wound is not extremely deep or life-threatening, you don’t necessarily need emergency care at a hospital. Our experienced team of medical professionals at UrgentMED can take care of you. You won’t need to make an appointment, just walk into your nearest UrgentMED center and get the medical treatment you need, even if you have no insurance. We can address animal bites, straight cuts, deep gashes, and other injuries that may require stitches.
How to Tell if You Need Stitches?
Maybe you cut your finger while cutting vegetables or your cute little puppy bit you and broke the skin. You might think that since the wound is not bleeding that much and you aren’t in too much pain you don’t need stitches. However, some cases are not obvious and you might still want to seek medical care for any deep cuts, if only to minimize scarring. If you are wondering whether you need to seek medical attention for a cut, consider the following factors:
- Is the cut on or near your neck?
- Is the cut deeper than 1/4 inch or longer than 1/3 inch?
- Is any foreign object or debris stuck in the opening of the wound?
- Were you cut by a rusty object?
- Is there a loose flap of skin left behind by the cut that may need reattachment?
- Is the wound still bleeding even though you were able to apply direct pressure?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you need to seek medical attention right away.
What Are the Different Types of Stitches?
The type of stitches a wound needs depends on the location of the cut, the tension required to close the wound, and the thickness of the skin surrounding the cut. Other than this, the basic procedure to stitch a cut is the same.
In the past, stitches were made from material that needed to be removed by a medical professional on a return visit. However, most stitches these days are made using materials that dissolve gradually and don’t need to be removed. The physician or nurse will tell you if you need to return to urgent care to have your stitches removed.
The length of time is takes the sutures to dissolve depends on where the wound is and how deep it is. Some cuts and lacerations heal within a few days, while more serious injuries can take several weeks to heal properly. High-tension areas, like your joints, require that stitches remain in longer to promote healing, otherwise the wound could reopen.
If you visit UrgentMED for laceration or wound care, your doctor will tell you exactly how and when the stitches will dissolve or need to be removed. You will also be advised on your estimated healing time for your particular wound.
What to Expect from UrgentMED Doctors When Receiving Stitches?
Our UrgentMED team of licensed physicians, nurse practitioners, and other treatment providers is proficient in addressing non-life-threatening lacerations, cuts, and wounds.
When you arrive with a serious cut, you will be thoroughly assessed first to determine the cause of your wound and if the cut requires stitches to stop bleeding. After discussing your medical history, an optimal treatment plan will be created based on how large or deep the wound is. The wound will be cleaned, disinfected, stitched back together, and bandaged. You may also be given certain injections or prescription antibiotics to prevent infection.
As we always advise patients in these situations, after we stitch and dress the wound, the at-home healing process is your responsibility. This means keeping your stitches clean and covered up to limit the risk of infection. Make sure to wash the wound gently with clean water and mild soap regularly. If you’re given an antibiotic cream, apply it in a thin layer before re-dressing the wound with clean cloth. Keep in mind that your bandage should not be tight; it should be loose enough so blood can flow freely.
If you see redness or swelling, or the wound seems to be becoming tender, it could be a sign you are developing an infection. In that case, seek immediate medical attention by visiting any of our UrgentMED facilities located near you.
When Should You Go to the ER for Stitches?
While most cuts and scrapes can be treated at home or in an urgent care center, there are some wounds where emergency room care may be the right option:
- If the cut is still bleeding after applying 15–20 minutes of pressure.
- If the bleeding is extreme, i.e., blood is squirting or pouring out of the wound.
- If the wound is on your face and you have cosmetic concerns.
- If the wound is over a joint (like your knee or elbow) or other sensitive areas, so the edges open whenever you move.
- If bone, muscle, fat, or other interior body structures are visible through the cut.
- If the cut was caused by a rusty or dirty object.
- If the cut is deeper than a quarter of an inch.
Get Timely and Professional Care for Wounds and Lacerations at UrgentMED
Whether you need stitches for a cut or laceration, or have any other type of non-life-threatening health issue that calls for urgent care, UrgentMED can help. Our dedicated medical providers are trained to handle urgent care ailments such as animal bites, minor cuts, laceration repair, skin tag or wart removal, foreign objects removal, suture removal, and wound care.
You can come visit us without making an appointment at all. We are open even on weekends and holidays. If you’d like to learn more about our treatment options before visiting, please get in touch with us online.