Does your cut need stitches?

Cuts & Wounds

May 18, 2016


No matter how careful you are, cuts, scrapes, scratches, and bruises are inevitable. Fortunately, the vast majority of wounds can heal without any medical intervention. However, some cuts and scrapes will need stitches and a trip to the ER to heal properly. Here is some information that will help you determine whether you need stitches.

Signs a Cut Requires Stitches

Determining whether a wound requires stitches is often a judgment call. Here are some signs that may indicate you need to head to the ER.

  • The cut exposes the dermis or subcutaneous fatty tissue
  • The cut is so wide that you can’t push the edges together with gentle pressure
  • A bite caused the cut
  • A foreign object or high-pressure impact caused the wound
  • The cut is located on or across one of your joints
  • The cut is bleeding excessively and not slowing
  • A dirty or rusty object caused the wound
  • The cut is on or near the face or genitalia

Handling the Wound Prior to the ER

If you believe your wound is serious enough to warrant a visit to the emergency room, you should handle the wound carefully. Not only do you want to prevent the cut from becoming even worse, but you also want to avoid infections. Here are some tips that will help you handle the wound properly before going to the ER.

  • Leave any foreign objects embedded in the wound alone. The foreign object may have struck an artery and is now blocking major bleeding. If you remove the object, you may start to bleed excessively.
  • Clean the wound if you can. In order to prevent infection, use soap and water on the wound as soon as possible. If the wound is contaminated, you may still need a tetanus shot.
  • Avoid food and drink in case sedation medication is necessary. This is especially essential for young children who require stitches.

If you’re still unsure whether your wound requires medical intervention, head to your nearest Complete Care location. We now have 17 ER locations across Texas in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio,  Corpus Christi, El Paso and East Texas.