When That Cut Requires Stitches

Cuts and lacerations of the skin are very common, accounting for 30% of workplace injuries alone. Just about everyone has had a cut or scrape at some point, but most don’t require a trip to the doctor because your body heals from them pretty quickly. But deep cuts left unattended can lead to infection, excessive blood loss, and worse. Let’s look at what you can do to determine what kind of cut you have and when to get medical attention for it.

Residents of the Bakersfield, California, area dealing with deep cuts and bruises are very fortunate when it comes to medical care. Dr. Yadwinder Kang and 1st Choice Urgent Care have plenty of expertise in dealing with cuts and many emergency treatments.

What determines a deep cut?

Deep cuts have a number of different factors that distinguish them from shallow cuts and pose certain risks:

Size of the cut

A cut deeper or longer than half an inch is likely to need stitches, especially if it’s wide and gaping. If it’s deep enough that muscle, fatty tissue, or bone is exposed, get medical attention right away.

Location of the cut

A deep cut on any part of the body can be dangerous, but certain areas carry more risk than others. Injuries on or across the joint can risk exposing ligaments and tendons, and you should be wary of injuries to the face and genitals. Cuts to the face can impair vision, and cuts to the genitals should be looked at as soon as possible.

Cause of the cut

Puncture wounds from things like animal bites or a rusty nail carry the risk of rabies or tetanus. These can be risky even if the wound isn’t deep. Debris or broken glass can also be very dangerous.

Amount of blood

If a cut is bleeding profusely and hasn’t stopped after at least 10 minutes of direct pressure, it needs the attention of a doctor. It will need stitches and could be evidence of a sliced artery.

A serious cut puts you at risk for bleeding out from a major artery, infection, or numbness and loss of sensation to the injured area. 

How can you manage it before getting help?

There are some things you will have to do to manage the injury before getting help. Applying direct pressure with a clean cloth or bandage is vital when dealing with deep cuts, to help prevent excessive bleeding. Hold the pressure for at least 5-10 minutes before looking at the cut. If the cloth becomes saturated, place another clean cloth on top, do not remove the other cloth because you still need to maintain direct pressure. 

Make sure the bleeding has stopped before taking any other steps. If you're applying basic first aid, be sure to wash your hands. Gently clean the injury with soap and water, and apply antibiotic cream, if possible. Preventing the wound from getting infected is very important. 

Get to the hospital as soon as possible, and call 911 if absolutely necessary. If you are dealing with a deep cut and need medical attention, contact Dr. Kang and 1st Choice Urgent Care right away.

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