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September 19, 2018

Injuries Requiring Stitches: Emergency Room Tips

Injuries Requiring Stitches: Emergency Room Tips

You are busy chopping food for lunch or dinner and slice yourself accidentally. Your child is playing on gravel or is enjoying his bike ride and gets gashed. What do you do when these happens?

It’s quite easy to decide on what to do about primary scrapes and scratches, but beyond that, you may not be sure about what to do or how to proceed. How do you determine whether you should bandage it up at home or go to Frontline ER to get stitches?  Let us first understand what stitches are and the kind of injuries that may require you to get them.

What Are Stitches?

Stitches are used by doctors to close wounds appearing on your skin. When your doctor at FrontLine ER sutures an injury, they use a needle attached to a length of “thread” to stitch up the wound.

Different materials such as nylon or silk are used to make the thread. The strands can either be nonabsorbable or absorbable (dissolve on their own).

Stitches are essential because:

  • They strengthen and support the skin when the wound is closing up thereby lowering your chances of bleeding and of getting an infection.
  • It helps the blood to clot and forms the layers that will protect the repair occurring within your body while at the same time assisting in hastening the healing process.
  • Stitches minimize the existence of ugly scars as they reduce the size of the wound to a thin line.

Signs that You Need to Get Some Stitches

From the size of the wound to its location, there exist different indications to show that you require stitches.

  • The wound looks very deep and extensive that you can’t get the edges together with just a little pressure
  • The wound spurts blood or bleeds enough to soak through a bandage
  • Deep wounds  over a joint  that penetrate  down to the fat, muscle, and  bone
  • A wound that has ragged edges

Injuries to the eyelids, face, genitals, and limbs often need treatment for both functional and cosmetic reasons. If you do need stitches, here are a few tips before you head to FrontLine ER.

  • Do not attempt to remove any object stuck through your skin, leave it  there as it helps  lessen the bleeding
  • Injured kids should avoid eating or drinking anything because anesthesia may take time to react before the doctor begins stitching.
  • Use a clean towel or bandage to apply pressure to the wound directly
  • Raise and maintain the injured area above the heart level and if blood soaks through, place a new bandage on top of the old one.
  • If you can, clean the wound using running water but do not use hydrogen peroxide or iodine as they can irritate your wound.

Your risk of infection heightens the more prolonged the wound remains open.  Most wounds that require closure should be stitched within six to eight hours after the injury.

What Happens At Frontline ER?

Understanding the suturing procedure will help you know what it involves. You also need to know how caring for your stitches can make the moment more bearable and the outcome as beneficial as possible.

When evaluating a patient with a severe wound, the emergency physician at Frontline ER will first obtain a detailed history before inspecting the wound. While investigating the injury, doctors check for the presence of foreign bodies or debris around the wound. They will then proceed as follows:

  • If the wound is actively bleeding, direct digital pressure is applied for about 15 minutes until it stops.
  • Before stitching up a wound, the emergency doctor will make sure that the injury and surrounding flesh have undergone proper disinfection.
  • Once the wound has been sterilized, the patient is made to lie down on a well-illuminated table where the doctor can make the stitches with less movement.  If the injuries were especially deep or numerous, a local anesthetic will be used to dull the pain.
  • Stitches are made separately rather than as a continuous line. The outer ends are left long and visible for easier removal when the wound has finished healing.

Follow Up On Stitched Injuries

Usually, the stitches should be taken out within a week depending on the area that was stitched. Patients who have chronic illnesses like diabetes are at an increased risk of poor wound healing after stitches.

  • However, the wound should always be kept elevated, covered, dry and clean to promote quick healing.
  • A plastic bag or some other waterproof wrap is suitable for use while in the shower or bath.
  • Besides, these stitches will be particularly sensitive, and it will also be vital to keep them from tearing under excessive pressure.
  • Exposure to the sun within the first month increases the risk of scarring. Therefore, the doctor advises the patient to use sunblock application.

There are instances where an injury may occur when you are in a very remote area and cannot get to an emergency room immediately. DIY suturing is necessary if someone has a significant and deep wound that did not hit an artery or a large vein. This process requires a lot of practice, and if not done well, it can cause a life-threatening infection. Ensure that any equipment used undergoes thorough sterilization before use.

Emergency Care, Emergency Room