When Are Stitches Necessary and Where Should I Go?

Sep 25, 2023
When Are Stitches Necessary and Where Should I Go?
You have a bad cut, but you’re not sure if it needs stitches or if you even need to go to the emergency room. Find out when stitches are necessary and where you should go for wound care.

Injuries are bound to happen to everyone at some point. If you’ve cut yourself — whether you slice your hand while preparing food or severely gash your knee after a fall on gravel — you might wonder if your injury requires a trip to the emergency room or urgent care or if you can simply care for it at home.

While many cuts are minor and can heal on their own, there are some cases where your injury needs stitches to heal properly. For this reason, our team at League Health Urgent & Primary Care, led by Dr. Susan Tanyi, presents these criteria for when your cut likely requires stitches and explains where you should go when you need wound care.

Does your injury need stitches?

Stitches work much like the thread that holds your clothing together. Medical sutures are made of nylon, silk, or other materials, and some can even dissolve on their own. They hold your skin together to close a wound so it can heal effectively and also work to minimize your risk of infection and scarring.

How severe is your injury?

If any of the following apply to your wound, it needs emergency medical attention:

  • Vomiting, dizziness, loss of consciousness, or fast breathing
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Spurting blood
  • Bleeding that doesn’t stop after 10 minutes of firm pressure
  • A large cut that’s on your chest, neck, or abdomen

If you have any of these symptoms, call 911 or get to your nearest emergency room right away.

However, there are times when a cut is still severe enough to need stitches, but you can go to an urgent care walk-in facility to receive medical attention. Get to an urgent care clinic for prompt, effective treatment if:

  • Your cut is long and deep
  • Your cut is more than a half-inch wide
  • There’s debris in your cut
  • Your cut has jagged edges
  • Your cut is from a puncture wound

In addition, if your cut is from an animal or human bite or you’re showing signs of an infection — such as redness or a fever — you need to seek prompt medical attention. You may require additional treatment such as a tetanus shot or antibiotics.

Taking next steps for your medical care

If you’re still not sure whether your cut needs stitches, it’s always best to be safe. Come in and see our urgent care team, and we can evaluate and treat your injury and give you instructions on how to best care for it so it heals well. 

League Health Urgent & Primary Care in Katy, Texas, is open seven days a week — and no appointment is required for wound care. Simply walk in and our team will fit you into our schedule quickly. 

We’re a full-service primary care facility, too. If you’d like more information about our wide range of wellness and medical services, contact us online or over the phone today.