It’s overwhelming to have a cut that’s deep and painful, but you shouldn’t ignore it or try to treat it on your own. Open lacerations and wounds can lead to infection and may never heal properly. Rather than worrying about whether or not you need stitches, have Yadwinder Kang, MD and his team at 1st Choice Urgent Care evaluate your wound. This Bakersfield, California clinic is open extended hours for walk-in visits, so you can get the care you need right away. You can also book a same-day appointment by calling the clinic, or by using the online booking feature.

How do I know if I need stitches?

The only way to know for sure if you need stitches or sutures is to have a medical professional evaluate your laceration or cut. Even if it’s a smaller wound, you may still benefit from having it sealed with tissue glue. Your wound might need to be sutured or glued if it:

  • Is deep enough to expose underlying tissue
  • Is located across a joint
  • Occurs because of an animal bite
  • Won’t stop bleeding
  • Is contaminated with debris

Because untreated lacerations can lead to infection, it’s always best to head to the urgent care clinic and have it treated, even if you don’t think you need stitches.

What are the signs that a cut is infected?

Open lacerations and wounds can become infected at any time, even if you’ve had stitches. It’s important to know which warning signs could mean an infection is lingering. Watch out for:

  • Severe pain or throbbing
  • Draining pus
  • Redness beyond wound
  • Inflammation or swelling

Although it could take some time for bleeding to stop, bleeding should continue to slow down as it starts to clot. If your wound is bleeding profusely, or opens back up and starts to bleed, it’s time to visit your urgent care practitioner to make sure it isn’t infected.

When are stitches removed?

Your doctor may remove stitches anywhere from 4-14 days afterward. It just depends on where they’re located on your body and the size of your cut. For instance, facial wounds tend to heal quicker and stitches can lead to scarring, so you can usually have them removed sooner.

But if you have sutures in your hand or over a joint, they may need to stay there for as long as two weeks. Some types of suture materials are dissolvable — including tissue glue — so you don’t need to have them removed.

Once your stitches are removed or have dissolved, you’re not out of the clear yet. You still need to care for your wound as if it just occurred. Be gentle with the area and continue using topical ointments and bandages, as recommended. Even after a six-week healing period, your wound is only at about 80% of its final healing point.

1st Choice Urgent Care offers walk-in visits for lacerations and wound care, although you can also schedule same-day appointments by calling the office or by using the online booking feature.