ZocdocAnswersHow can I tell if I need stitches?

Question

How can I tell if I need stitches?

cut above left eye looks like only a layer but still unsure

Answer

Sorry to hear about your injury, and am glad to hear that it seems to be superficial. Knowing when to use stitches to close a wound and when to just let the wound close by itself can be somewhat difficult for most people, which is why I recommend speaking with your doctor. In general, what drives the decision has more to do with what the final result will be than most other factors. Obviously, there are exceptions for some wounds, where closure of the wound is important to prevent infection in an open area that could easily get contaminated, but one of the primary benefits of suturing is what the excellent tissue opposition that you are able to get with a suture technique. If the injury is very superficial and doesn't go all of the way through the skin and into the deeper tissues, sutures are generally not indicated. If, however, the deeper, fatty and muscular areas of the body are involved, a suture can enhance healing, decrease infection, and improve the long term cosmetic results. If you have specific questions about a wound, speaking with your doctor is generally the best step. He or she will also have access to other techniques, such as surgical glue. Please speak with your doctor.

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

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