Suture Care Introduction
Sutures, or stitches, are the most commonly used method to fix a cut or wound. Other methods used to treat wounds are skin adhesives or glue, Steri-Strips or butterfly bandages, staples or even leaving skin wounds open (unsutured) to heal without closure in some cases (this is termed “closure by secondary intention”).
Sometimes, a very contaminated or dirty wound is left alone for a few days with a plan to repair it with loose stitches later to prevent capturing contaminating pathogens in and underneath the sutures. These delayed methods of closing a wound are performed only after thorough irrigation, or washing, of the laceration and exploration and removal of any foreign debris or dirt. When applicable, sutures are used to close the wound. Suture material is classified as absorbable or nonabsorbable. Absorbable sutures dissolve over time. Nonabsorbable sutures need to be removed within a time specified by the doctor (usually 5 to10 days, depending on the location and type of wound).
Hien L Tran, MD
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