From a minor papercut while turning the page in a book to accidentally slicing your finger while fumbling with your keys or while cooking dinner, cuts are one of the most common injuries people experience each day. Superficial cuts, which do not get far beneath the skin and stop bleeding quickly, can be treated promptly at home by cleaning it out with antibacterial ointment and covering it with a bandage. More severe cuts and scrapes may require medical attention and stitches to prevent the wound from getting infected and keep the skin together. If you aren’t sure if your cut is deep enough to require stitches, visit your local urgent care center for examination and any necessary treatment.

What are stitches?

Stitches are applied to your skin with a needle and medical thread to close broken skin in large or deep wounds to prevent infection and stop excessive bleeding. They will keep your wound from splitting as the skin heals and prevent debris from entering and infecting the area. Some stitches are performed with absorbable material, which disintegrates on their own as you recover. Nonabsorbable sutures will require a doctor’s visit to remove after the skin has closed.

Determining Whether a Cut Needs Stitches

Because each cut can appear differently, determining whether or not you need stitches can be difficult at first glance. If you aren’t sure how serious your cut is, seek medical attention by visiting your local urgent care center. The following are major factors in whether or not stitches will be necessary:

  • Is the cut still bleeding? If you have applied pressure to the cut for 15 minutes and it is still bleeding, you should head to AFC Urgent Care for treatment. If the cut will not stop bleeding, it may have hit deeper than it initially looks and will require medical intervention to stop.
  • What does the cut look like? Certain aspects of the cut will be immediately visible as you clean it out. If you can see internal tissues such as tendons or even bones through the cuts, you need to visit urgent care for stitches. More subtle signs that you will need stitches include the depth and length of the cut. If the cut is over one inch wide or one-quarter of an inch thick, you should see a doctor for an examination and treatment.
  • Where is it? Certain areas in your skin are more vulnerable to splitting and infection. For example, a deep cut near your knee or elbow can be affected by the amount of motion in the area as you walk or lift your arms to write or type. The skin close to your eye is thinner and can prove to be susceptible to infection. Cuts near your eye can be deeper than you may think and should get stitches to prevent an infection.

If you have recently sustained a cut that may require stitches, visit your local AFC Urgent Care in North Bergen for evaluation and treatment.