ZocdocAnswersHow do I know if I need stitches?

Question

How do I know if I need stitches?

I cut my hand and I'm not sure if I can just bandage it up or if I need to get stitches

Answer

So sorry to hear that you have cut your hand, and hope that it will heal up just fine. It is somewhat difficult to decide whether or not a wound needs stitches, and so I will go over the things that doctors think about when making the decision and suggest that you see a doctor about it. Stiches can be excellent to help wounds look better by reapproximating the tissues that were separated with the wound. They can also help to keep bacteria out of the deeper tissues by re-establishing the natural protections that the skin has to offer. On the other hand, if the wound is dirty or has excessive bacteria within it, suturing the skin closed can trap this inside and set up a situation where the body creates an abscess that later has to be drained. In those occasions, a doctor will allow the wound to heal from the inside out. While the final scar may be slightly more prominent, the benefits sometimes outweigh the cosmetic challenges. Hand and other extremity wounds can be difficult to heal due to the decreased blood supply that they get so far from the heart. For that reason, among others, I would suggest that you talk to a doctor. Please talk to your doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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