Lacerations / Stitches


Most of the time, small lacerations and cuts can be treated at home with basic first-aid supplies. But there are instances when at-home treatment isn’t sufficient to stop the bleeding or prevent unsightly scars. How do you know when a cut needs medical treatment? Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether you should visit the emergency room:

Cuts vs. Lacerations

Even though the words “cut” and “laceration” are often used as synonyms, there are distinct differences in the type of wound. Cuts usually occur when sharp objects come in contact with the skin, such as shards of glass or a knife. On the other hand, laceration is the term used when the wound is jagged because the skin was torn. Lacerations can be caused by sharp objects as well, but the edges aren’t as clean as a cut. Small lacerations and cuts usually don’t require emergency services. But if you don’t access medical treatment when needed, then the wound might become infected, or it might not heal on its own. If you have a small laceration or cut, then you should use cold water and soap to clean the wound. Pressure can be applied to stop the bleeding. Then, apply an antibiotic ointment and cover the wound with a bandage to prevent infection.

Why Stitches for Lacerations?

Visiting iCare ER & Urgent Care for a cut or laceration will help you determine whether stitches are needed to keep the wound closed. Depending on the injury, stitches can be placed using materials that will dissolve with time. Or, if removable stitches are used, come back to the urgent care to have the stitches removed at the appropriate time. Stitches are beneficial for keeping the skin pulled together. This medical treatment reduces the risk of infection, accelerates healing, and minimizes scarring. Other medical services might be required as well, such as treatment to stop the bleeding or the repair of underlying tissue damage. It is important to know when you received your last Tetanus vaccination to determine if a Tetanus shot is needed.

Where to Go for Stitches Removal

Removing stitches doesn’t have to be an interruption to your day. One of the easiest and fastest ways to remove the stitches is by visiting our urgent care. Keep in mind that certain treatments might require consultation with a specialist before the stitches are removed, such as stitches from plastic surgery.

This treatment is a quick, simple process of pulling the stitches. Additionally, the doctor or nurse has an opportunity to inspect the wound and look for signs of infection or other complications that might require medical care. Having a trained medical professional remove your stitches is important to reduce scarring and avoid problems.

Seeking Medical Care

While some wounds can be treated at home with a little extra care, more serious wounds should be treated by medical professionals Gaping wounds deeper than 1 inch and wounds that do not stop bleeding after you’ve applied pressure and elevated them for 10 ­­– 15 minutes are usually serious enough to necessitate a trip to the ER. Bite wounds, both from humans or animals, should be treated as especially serious, including painful insect bites. Additionally, wounds caused by rusty nails, glass or wood splinters, or wounds that are showing early signs of infection should be seen by our medical practitioners.

If your wound begins to develop an infection, it is important to recognize the symptoms so they can be treated as early as possible. If redness begins to spread out from the wound, or if it begins to swell and increase in tenderness, or if you see green or yellow pus, you should seek medical attention immediately. Other signs include swollen lymph nodes, body aches, chills, or fever.

What To Expect

When you come to iCare with a wound injury, our highly trained staff will perform a physical exam to assess the seriousness of your wound. Depending on how large, deep, or infected it is, our team will treat you in the appropriate setting. After a medical history review and exam, our qualified doctor and nurses will clean and treat your wound, usually with stitches or antibiotic ointments. They will then dress or bandage your wound.

After your wound is treated at iCare, the practitioner will leave you with specific instructions for caring for your wound after your visit. However, as a general guide, it is best to keep all wounds clean in order to prevent infection. Wash your wound with clean water and a mild soap per your doctor’s instructions. If provided with an antibiotic cream, apply a thin layer before dressing it. Dress or bandage your wound loosely so that blood flow is not restricted, and be sure to change the dressing daily so that an infection does not begin to grow. Refrain from scratching any itchy scabs so that they can heal properly.