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Suture Care (cont.)

Physician Diagnosis for Suture Problems

If the wound with the suture develops signs or symptoms of an infection (pus develops, red streaks, becomes warm red and swells), the doctor may make one of several diagnoses.

  • Cellulitis: Local infection of the skin
  • Abscess: Deeper infection of the wound with a collection of pus-like material
  • Dehiscence: Separation of the wound edges, primarily due to infection
  • Foreign body: An infection from debris or dirt remaining in the wound and not removed earlier

Physician Treatment for Suture Care

  • If the doctor diagnoses cellulitis, you will be treated with antibiotics.
  • If you have an abscess, then the collection of pus will need to be drained. This may involve stitch removal or an incision to make a track so that pus can flow out or drain to the surface. You likely will also need antibiotics. Further home care will include soaking the infected area with clean warm towels three to four times a day to assist the healing process.
  • If your wound's edges separate, the wound may need to be left open to heal on its own. Your treatment will likely also include antibiotics.
  • When there is something in the wound (termed a foreign body that may be a piece of dirt, or splinter, or a broken needle or metal barb) that is causing the infection. This material will need to be removed by a physician.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/18/2016
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