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Laceration - sutures or staples - at home

Skin cut - caring for stitches; Skin cut - suture care; Skin cut - caring for staples

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Incision closures

Description

A laceration is a cut that goes all the way through the skin. A small cut can be cared for at home. A large cut needs medical attention right away.

If the cut is large, it may need stitches or staples to close the wound and stop the bleeding.

It is important to take care of the injury site after the doctor or health care provider applies the stitches. This helps prevent infection and allows the wound to heal properly.

How to Care for Stitches (Sutures)

Stitches are special threads that are sewn through the skin at an injury site to bring a wound together. Care for your stitches and wound as follows:

How to Care for Staples

Medical staples are made of special metal and are not the same as office staples. Care for your staples and wound as follows:

Important Tips

Keep the following in mind:

When to Call the Doctor

Call your provider right away if:

References

Beard JM, Osborn J. Common office procedures. In: Rakel RE, Rakel DP, eds. Textbook of Family Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 28.

Simon BC, Hern HG. Wound management principles. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 52.

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Review Date: 1/14/2020  

Reviewed By: Jesse Borke, MD, CPE, FAAEM, FACEP, Attending Physician at Kaiser Permanente, Orange County, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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