Interviewer: How do you know if a cut that you got requires stitches? Emergency room doctor Troy Madsen, how do you decide?
Dr. Madsen: The big thing I do to determine if something needs stitches is: Is this wound gaping or not? And by "gaping," I mean is it open? So you can touch the wound, you pull on, it pulls open, or it's on a part on the body where it's just going to keep popping open, say on a joint or on your arm. Those are things that needs stitches, because otherwise they're just not going to heal up well.
The other thing I always worry about is it on an area where there are cosmetic concerns? Is it on the face? And that's an area where I would be more likely to place stitches. Otherwise, if the wound is staying together okay, you can put a bandage on it, you can probably avoid a trip to the ER.
Interviewer: And would they be able to do stitches in an urgent care?
Dr. Madsen: Well, you know, if it's not actively bleeding, if you've controlled the bleeding you can go to an urgent care. They can get the stitches in, probably get you on your way more quickly.
updated: April 27, 2021
originally published: May 28, 2019
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