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This topic covers common questions about sutures or stitches
Skin glue (Dermabond) is also covered
Your child has a cut and you wonder if she needs stitches, see CUTS, SCRAPES, or BRUISES
Wound looks infected, see WOUND INFECTION
Not moving or too weak to stand
Your child looks or acts very sick
Major surgical wound that's starting to open up
Bleeding that won't stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure
Suture came out early and wound has re-opened
Wound looks infected (redness, red streaks, swollen, pus)
You think your child needs to be seen urgently
You think your child needs to be seen, but not urgently
Suture came out early and wound is still closed
Suture removal is overdue
You have other questions or concerns
Sutured wound with no complications and you don't think your child needs to be seen
Suture Care for a normal sutured wound:
Keep sutured wounds completely dry for first 24 hours (4 hours for Dermabond skin glue). If needed, use a sponge bath.
After 24 hours, can take brief showers.
Avoid swimming, baths or soaking the wound until sutures are removed or Dermabond has fallen off. (Reason: Water in the wound can interfere with healing).
Apply antibiotic ointment (such as Polysporin) 3 times a day (no prescription needed). Reason: to prevent infection and a thick scab. (Caution: don't apply any ointments or creams to Dermabond skin glue)
Cleanse with warm water once daily or if becomes soiled.
Change wound dressing when wet or soiled.
Dressing no longer needed when edge of wound closed (usually 48 hours). EXCEPTION: dressing needed to prevent sutures from catching on clothing.
For pain relief, give acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) or ibuprofen as needed (see Dosage table).
Removal Date: Guidelines for when particular sutures (stitches) should be removed:
Arms and back of hands
Chest, abdomen or back
7- 10 days
Legs and top of feet
Palms, soles, fingers or toes
Overlying a joint
Don't miss your appointment for removing sutures.
Leaving sutures in too long can leave unnecessary skin marks and occasionally scarring.
It also makes suture removal more difficult.
Suture Out Early: If the sutures come out early, reinforce the wound with tape or butterfly Band-Aids until the office visit.
Wound Protection: After removal of sutures:
Protect the wound from injury during the following month.
Avoid sports that could re-injure the wound. If a sport is essential, apply tape before playing.
Allow the scab to fall off naturally. Do not try to pick it off. (Reason: prevent scarring)
Call Your Doctor If:
Sutures come out early
Your child becomes worse
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