Wounds and Sutures

You or your child has a skin wound that needed to be properly closed to reduce the chance for potential problems, mainly infection or delayed healing. Your urgent care provider may have repaired it by using non-dissolving stitches that will have to be removed. (Some wounds are fixed by applying special adhesive strips or even metal staples.)

The purpose of suturing a wound is to securely close the skin to minimize further bleeding, contamination and chance of infection. It also hastens the healing process and reduces the size of the scar. (A scar always occurs with a full-thickness skin injury.)

The healing process is affected by factors such as overall health and nutrition, age, the type and location of the wound and how well it is kept protected and cared for after leaving the urgent care department.

Home Care for Wounds and Sutures

  • Keep the wound dressing dry. If it becomes wet, carefully remove it as soon as possible, blot the sutures dry with sterile gauze and reapply a clean dressing. If it is a special type of dressing, or splinted, you should see your physician or return to urgent care for a dressing change. If the wound is on an extremity, try to keep it elevated and minimize activity.

  • Change the dressing daily unless instructed otherwise. Check for the warning signs at the bottom of this instruction sheet before reapplying the dressing.

  • If you have been prescribed a pain medication or antibiotic, use it exactly as directed.

  • You should receive a tetanus shot if your last was one was over 10 years ago (and not allergic).

  • Your wound may look dark red, glossy or raised for a few months and then gradually fade. Some people tend to form excess scar tissue and if so, consult your regular physician.

Call or Return If Any of the Following Occur:

  • Loosening of your stitches or opening of your cut

  • Increasing redness, tenderness or cloudy drainage

  • Swelling or decreased function of the area beyond the site of injury

  • Persistent bleeding or increasing swelling beneath the wound site

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