How to Tell if Your Cut Needs Stitches

Oct 03, 2022
How to Tell if Your Cut Needs Stitches
Some cuts and wounds need stitches to heal fully without scarring. However, not every cut needs stitches. How can you tell when a cut needs medical attention? Read on for important information.

Stitches, also medically known as sutures, are an effective way to help cuts and wounds heal more rapidly with less scarring. Medical sutures hold the sides of a long or deep wound together, giving your body support as it knits tissue back together.

Not every cut or wound will need stitches to heal. If you’re dealing with an accident or sudden injury, you need to determine whether the cut needs medical care and, potentially, stitches.

At Carolina Urgent Care, our team provides high-grade urgent care support for cuts, wounds, and other injuries from our location in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. How do you know when your cut needs suturing? Here are some rules of thumb.

Assessing your cut

After your injury, if possible, take a moment to assess the extent of the damage. If you’re bleeding heavily, with blood gushing or spurting, and applying pressure doesn’t help, call 911 and seek emergency care right away, as you may be dealing with a severed artery.

You should also get emergency care if you suffer a cut on your face or genitals, if your injury involved a human or animal bite, or if something rusty or otherwise contaminated was involved in your injury.

If it doesn’t seem like you need emergency care, continue assessing the cut to determine if you need urgent care for stitches. Look at the cut’s size, depth, location, and amount of bleeding as you make the determination. You can also always check in with the Carolina Urgent Care team if you’re not sure how serious your injury might be.

Signs that your cut needs stitches

Take a look at the size of your cut. Typically, cuts need stitches if they are half an inch or more in length or depth.

Which parts of your body are exposed due to the cut? If your cut exposes muscle, bone, or fatty subdermal tissue, it needs stitches. Cuts that intersect with your joints can be challenging to heal due to repeated movement, and also often benefit from stitches as well as a professional medical check on neighboring ligaments and tendons.

The amount of bleeding and potential infection risk from a cut also makes a difference in what kind of care you’ll need. Bleeding that continues for more than 10 minutes is a sign that you might need stitches. You should also watch out for signs of infection like redness, spreading redness, swelling, tenderness, pain, pus, or fever.

If you have an injury that you think might need stitches, get in touch with Carolina Urgent Care right away. We provide the urgent care treatment you need for full healing without infection, complications, or future scarring. 

You can walk in for treatment at Carolina Urgent Care, schedule an appointment online or over the phone, or set up a telehealth appointment now.


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