How to Tell if Your Cut Needs Stitches

Injuries can occur at any time, from bumping into something to accidentally missing when slicing up your dinner to tripping on a crack in the sidewalk while walking or going for a jog. Among the most common of injuries are cuts and lacerations, which can be misleading by appearance. Cuts can initially appear superficial while being deep enough or long enough to require stitches in order for the skin to heal correctly and keep out potential infections from the wound. Deep cuts may require an x-ray for proper diagnosis and to determine the need for stitches. AFC Urgent Care Natick provides many of the same injury treatment services as a traditional emergency room including digital imaging for a full diagnosis of the injury and performing stitches and follow up care to treat wounds.

What are stitches? How do they work?

Stitches are a process by which the skin surrounding a cut or laceration is sewn back together in order for the skin to heal properly and so infections cannot enter or form in the wound. Also known as sutures, they are performed by using sterile, specialized thread and can be performed on non-life-threatening injuries. Stitches are most common on injuries located near major joints including fingers, your elbows, your knees and your wrist or near your eyes, where cuts may be more prone to infection. There are two distinct types of thread used to perform stitches. Absorbable thread dissolves on its own in a few days as the wound begins to heal, while non-absorbable stitches require a follow-up visit to have the sutures removed.

Determining whether a cut needs stitches

There are a few factors that help determine whether or not your cut will require stitches in order to properly and completely heal. They include:

  • The edges of the skin being jagged or uneven, which can prevent healing and leads to scars
  • The cut is over one quarter of an inch deep or an inch wide in any direction 
  • The cut will not stop bleeding after consistent pressure in over 15 minutes
  • The cut is located near your eye or a frequently moving joint
  • Deep or internal tissue, tendons or bone is visible

It is important to get stitches as soon as possible after sustaining a cut in order to prevent infection, which can quickly form within minutes. With shorter wait times than a traditional emergency room, we will get your cut fully imaged and diagnosed, with your cut stitched up in under one hour.

Stitches & Injury Treatment in Natick, MA

If you get a cut that may require stitches, visit AFC Urgent Care Natick today. Our center is open seven days a week, with convenient hours to meet your needs. For questions, please call 508-650-6208.