Suture care is one of the most important steps after surgery or injury that can speed up your recovery. The stitches are responsible for keeping the wound or incision closed to heal. After healing, the skin is also removed or absorbed. Properly covered, it will withstand a great deal of adverse conditions. Join us to learn about the types of stitches, how to care for them and the signs of danger.
What is a stitch?
You can think of stitches as sewing your clothes, which hold the different parts together. The stitches are made of different materials such as nylon or silk. Some sutures are absorbent and resolve spontaneously, such as sutures used inside the mouth. Others have to be pulled.
Sutures are important because they reduce the chance of bleeding and infection. They also reduce scarring.
Types of stitches
- Normal sutures: After the wound has healed, the doctor or nurse should remove it.
- Absorption sutures: The body absorbs them and does not need to be stretched. These sutures are very suitable for wounds below the surface of the skin.
- Wounds and incisions can also be kept closed in the following ways:
- A liquid adhesive for the skin that goes away on its own after a few weeks;
- Self-adhesive tape;
- Metal staples that a doctor or nurse should remove.
How to care for stitches
It is very important to keep the stitches clean and dry. You should only use creams and ointments prescribed by your doctor. If you have a bandage or bandage on your suture, ask your doctor or nurse to change it. Dressings should also be kept dry, and if they get wet, you should change them.
Suture care in the first 2 days
It is best to avoid activities that cause the stitches to open. Children should not engage in activities such as playing in the sand or mud, cycling or swimming during this time. After 24 hours, you can gently wash the stitched area in the sink or shower. Then dry the stitches carefully.
To wash a suture wound, it is best not to soak it in water (for example, in a tub) until it heals and the sutures are pulled or loosened. Pain around wounds and stitches is usually relieved with simple painkillers such as acetaminophen. As the wound heals, do not manipulate the dried skin around it and your sutures. This will make the scar bigger.
Long-term care of the suture
The scar will be red and prominent at first, but will gradually become paler and more flexible. It is best to keep the wound out of direct sunlight to prevent it from darkening.
Medical staples are made of a special metal and are different from ordinary paper staples. To take care of the stitches, you should do the following:
- Keep the area completely dry for 24 to 48 hours after stapling.
- After 48 hours, you can gently wash the staple area once or twice a day. Use cold water and soap to do this.
- Clean the area as close to the punch as you can, but avoid washing or rubbing the punches directly.
Gently pat the area dry with a paper towel and do not wipe the area. It is best that the napkin does not come into contact with the staples.
- If the staples were covered with a bandage, replace them with a clean bandage and antibiotics as directed by your doctor. Talk to your doctor about when to punch.
Suture care tips
- Prevent wound healing by reducing your activities.
- If you have a wound on your skull, you can use shampoo to wash the area. Do this gently and avoid excessive contact with water.
- Do not scratch the stitches.
Signs of suture infection
When caring for stitches, pay attention to the following signs:
- Increasing pain;
- Redness around the wound that does not heal and gets worse;
- A red line rising from the wound;
- Purulent discharge or bleeding;
- Unpleasant odor from the suture area;
- If you notice signs of infection, you should contact your doctor immediately and seek treatment.
The time to suture depends on the type of wound and its location. Usually stitches that are placed on joints such as the knee or elbow should stay longer. To pull the stitches, the doctor or nurse removes the stitches from the knot area and then pulls out the small thread. You may feel a stretch while doing this, but it should not be painful.
Normal stitching time
Head stitches should usually be removed 3 to 5 days later;
If the stitches are on the knee or elbow joints, they should be removed after 10 to 14 days;
Sutures to other parts of the body usually take 7 to 10 days.
You may be worried that the scar will remain after the stitches are removed. The following steps will help you to remove the scar:
- Keep the wound away from direct sunlight: The damaged skin is more likely to change color up to 6 months after the injury. You can cover this area with a hat or dress. You can use sunscreen to reduce the darkness of the wound, but do not do this for 2 weeks after the wound has healed.
- Keeping the wound high: It is best to place your wound as high as you can above the level of the heart. This can reduce inflammation and pain. You can use a pillow or blanket for this.
- Using silicone gels or sheets: If you use silicone products for at least 12 hours a day, they usually soften the wounds and improve their color. Of course, it is better to consult your doctor before doing this.
- Use of onion extract: Your doctor may suggest creams containing this extract.
- Massage: Using your fingers, massage the wound in a circular motion with gentle pressure. This can soften the wound and heal it quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions about Suture Care
1. When is the suture pulled?
Most stitches should be removed after 5 to 10 days, depending on the location of the stitches. Ask your doctor about when to go for a suture.
Absorbent sutures are usually absorbed after 1 or 2 weeks, although some may take several months.
2. When should I go to the emergency room?
- Open the stitches;
- The dressing becomes completely bloody;
- You can not shake the injured joint;
- Suddenly numb around the wound;
- See red marks from the side of your wound.
3. When should I see a doctor?
- If you have a fever and chills;
- Red, hot, inflamed or purulent discharge;
- Feel the unpleasant smell of the wound;
- 5 days after stitches and the wound has not changed;
- Feel severe pain around the wound.
In surgeries or extensive injuries, both sides of the wound need to be sutured together. Suture care ensures that you recover quickly and completely, so it is important to know your suture care tips and signs of infection. Tips such as keeping the wound dry, washing it daily, and reducing contact with water play an important role in preventing infection and wound healing, so keep these in mind.