ZocdocAnswersDo I need wound care if I accidentally cut myself?

Question

Do I need wound care if I accidentally cut myself?

I sliced my hand opening a can of soup and it seemed like a somewhat deep cut. It's not bleeding much, but how do I know if I need stitches?

Answer

The decision about when a wound needs stitches is made based on what the sutures would add to wound healing. The advantage of suturing a wound is that it will usually heal faster and have less of a scar, while also helping to keep infection out of the wound by keeping the skin edges closer together. Generally, wounds on the face or other obviously visible and aesthetically disturbing locations require stitches to make the final healed scar look as close to perfect as possible. This effect is enhanced by doing the stitching as soon as possible. The reason that stitches make a scar look better is fairly simple: closing the edges keeps the scar smaller by helping the skin out with the closure process that would otherwise take time. As for keeping out infection, this is also straight forward: less interruptions in the skin means fewer sites for bacterial entry. Provided that it has been cleaned well before hand, this can also help the skin to heal faster. If you are able to keep your hand clean, then it might or might not need stitches. Please speak to your doctor to determine if stitches are needed in your specific case.

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

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