If you haven’t attended one of the best nursing schools, you might not know when a cut requires stitches. Stitches are designed to close the wound and prevent scaring. Getting stitches typically requires a trip to the emergency room, which can be stressful and involve a lot of waiting. Of course, if you are unsure if a cut requires stitches, it is best to seek a professional opinion. Following are guidelines to help you decide whether or not a cut requires stitches.
One of the factors that is important in determining if a cut needs stitches is how deep the cut is. If the cut is so deep that you are able to see dark red muscle or yellow fat, then it probably requires stitches. Another thing to look at is if the cut is gaping. A gaping cut is a cut that will not close on its own and opens if you place your fingers on either side of the wound. If the cut has a visible flap of skin, this is a sign that it may be gaping and should be looked at. One of the best ways to determine if you need stitches is if they cut is bleeding. If the cut continues to bleed after placing consistent pressure on it for several minutes, then it probably needs stitches.
Size of the cut is also important. A cut that is larger than 3/16th of an inch usually requires stitches. This can be difficult to eyeball, so use a ruler to measure the cut.
The location of the cut is also important in determining if the cut needs stitches, as certain locations are more prone to scarring than others. A cut on the face can be closed for cosmetic reasons and in order to prevent scaring. The lip and mouth area is also very sensitive and prone to scaring. Stitches to these areas can promote healing and prevent long-lasting damage.
There are also several instances that require you see a doctor, even if the cut does not require stitches. If the victim is diabetic or was bitten by a human or animal, a doctor should be called. The same is true of a cut that cannot be cleaned or will not stop bleeding. Also call if your tetanus shot is not up to date. Finally, keep an eye on the cut as it heals. Signs of infection, like swelling, warmth and redness, warrant a trip to the doctor. Learn more about earning an online RN to BSN if you are interested in become a nurse.
Everyday Health (2012)