Wound Care (cont.)
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Sutures (Stitches) for Wounds
Primary closure: The health care practitioner will clean the wound and then explore the area for foreign bodies or underlying structures that may have been damaged prior to closing the wound with sutures, staples, or surgical glue.
If the wound is too old, too dirty, or if there are other reasons to believe that closing the wound is inappropriate, healing may occur by secondary intention. The wound will be cleaned, dressed, and allowed to heal gradually over time without sutures.
In otherwise healthy people with potentially dirty wounds, a combination of the two techniques may be considered (secondary intention and then primary closure). In this scenario, the health care practitioner will clean and dress the wound. The patient will be asked to return within 3-5 days, and if the wound shows no evidence of infection, it may be closed with sutures, staples, or surgical glue.
Other Wound Dressings
Physiologic dressings such as Tegaderm or Hydrogel may be used to promote healing instead of suturing in the elderly due to their very fragile skin, which makes it difficult to repair lacerations and tears in the skin.
Antibiotics for Wounds
If a wound is cleaned and cared for properly, there is often little need to prescribe antibiotics. However, animal bites, human bites, wounds exposed to river or lake water contamination, or other significantly dirty wounds, poor circulation may be prescribed to prevent infection. Antibiotics may also be prescribed if underlying structures like tendons or bones are involved.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/14/2014
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