when to get stitches

furryrabidbunny

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 10, 2005
475
0
Mesa, AZ
i dont like going to the hospital or urgent care but what is a good rule of thumb for the need for stitches? i have a knife whose blade opens when in a pocket... caught my palm on it. i have a once inch cut that is bleeding pretty bad.

i pulled out the first aid kit and put some cream and a tight bandage on it... how long should i give it ot bleed out till i go?
 

0098386

Suspended
Jan 18, 2005
21,576
2,908
Yea, you should go hospital to make sure you haven't cut anything important in there. I'd have been dialing 999 as soon as the knife went in!
 

r6girl

Administrator/Editor
Staff member
Sep 6, 2003
1,726
47
Massachusetts
definitely agree that if there's a lot of blood that won't stop easily, stitches are in order.

also, i'd suggest that if you are experience some tingling or other indication of cut nerves around the cut, getting it checked out by a doctor would be in order. i got a pretty bad cut once (stupidly trying to catch a boning knife as it slipped out of my hands) and cut a finger deep enough that the tip of my finger above the cut was numb even though it wasn't bleeding a lot. it still isn't entirely right to this day - definitely should have seen a doctor for that one...
 

furryrabidbunny

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 10, 2005
475
0
Mesa, AZ
doesn't look too bad anymore

bleeding stopped heres a pic... it really doesn't look that deep. i can't believe my first responder first aid kit didn't have any antibacterial products at all. does anyone know if vionex is okay to put on open cuts?
 

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Leareth

macrumors 68000
Nov 11, 2004
1,569
6
Vancouver
Rinse with saline rather than smearing on the antibiotic creams. most of the time they are not neccessary.

Tea tree oil is a good way to clean.
 

Counterfit

macrumors G3
Aug 20, 2003
8,201
0
sitting on your shoulder
That doesn't look deep at all. Should be fine without stitches. You might want to consider a knife with a lock for opening, like this one. In addition to the torsion bar, it has little plastic lock at the tip when it's folded.
 

Iscariot

macrumors 68030
Aug 16, 2007
2,627
3
Toronteazy
This one looks and sounds like it doesn't require treatment. Here are some rules of thumb for stitches/closures:

  • Wounds that gape and will not stay closed on their own;
  • Wounds that are more than 1/4" deep and 3/4" long;
  • Wounds that are deep enough for you to see fat or bone;
  • Wounds that you don't want to scar; and
  • Wounds that are deep near joints or tendons.

If you are not bleeding profusely, and if the bleeding slows substantially after 15 minutes of pressure (and in the case of your hands, elevation), then that's a pretty good indication that you don't need to see a doctor. You can cut yourself down to the bone in some areas of your body without needing significant first aid. I've cut myself down to the bone twice without requiring hospitalization, but I did perform first aid on myself.

Additionally, most puncture wounds don't require treatment.

You have between 6 and 24 hours to close most wounds before an increased risk of infection. Since you're knife was clean and the cut wasn't ragged, chances are good you'll be fine.
 

Cromulent

macrumors 603
Oct 2, 2006
6,039
36
The Land of Hope and Glory
Lol, what country are you in where the emergency number is 999? I think that would get pressed accidentally a lot. I believe the reason the U.S. uses 911 is because they're hard to press accidentally.
That would be the UK. We also use 112 (little known fact) for the old rotary dial type phones as having to do 999 on them takes ages and not the best in an emergency situation :).

As for stitches I had to have some after falling over on some glass. I had to go through 2 sets of dressings while in A&E because I was bleeding so much :(.
 

Dave00

macrumors 6502a
Dec 2, 2003
855
62
Pittsburgh
Stitches are generally required for a wound where the edges won't approximate - push the sides together, and they flap back open, you usually need a stitch or glue. Much more important than stitches, though, are the following points:
(1) Tetanus shot. If you have not had a tetanus shot within the last 10 years, or if you're not sure when your last tetanus shot was, you need one ASAP. They're only effective in the first 72 hours after a wound, preferably the first 24-48.
(2) Clean it out with soap & water. Don't bother with 'antibacterial' creams and such; they don't work, and some will actually make the problem worse.

Additionally, most puncture wounds don't require treatment.
I'd have to disagree. Some of the worst infections I've seen have been from puncture wounds, because there's no way to effectively clean them. The worst puncture wounds are from bites. Human bites and cat bites are especially bad - 80% of cat bites get infected.

For the original poster - job one is making sure you've had a tetanus shot. If you haven't, or you aren't sure, stop whatever you're doing and go get one. You really, really don't want to get lockjaw.
 

Iscariot

macrumors 68030
Aug 16, 2007
2,627
3
Toronteazy
Depending on what punctures you, you might want to get a tetanus booster.
I mentioned clean cuts, in the last paragraph. I probably should have made it a bullet point, but I was more addressing the question stitches than the question of infection.

I'd have to disagree. Some of the worst infections I've seen have been from puncture wounds, because there's no way to effectively clean them. The worst puncture wounds are from bites. Human bites and cat bites are especially bad - 80% of cat bites get infected.
Those wouldn't be clean punctures, they'd be bites. Bites usually aren't just clean punctures and involve some level of tearing. My advice was aimed at self-inflicted accident wounds, animal related injuries are a completely different subject.
 

.JahJahwarrior.

macrumors 6502
Jan 1, 2007
438
0
Starting near that line that runs parallel to your hand/perpendicular to your arm, from pinky side curving up to near your middle finger (does everyone have roughly similar hand lines? I have a line there, maybe you do?), well I was setting down this piece of scenery for a theatre production and it had a piece of aluminum angle iron stuff that wasn't put flush up against the side, and sliding my hand along the slide, it sliced my hand open from that line, perpendicular to it, for about 2.5 or 3 inches. It was about a quarter of an inch deep cut? I was building a set, no time to lose, so I grabbed some tape and taped some paper towels to my palm. Now I'm afraid to get my future told by a palmreader....there's still a line on my palm and that was three years ago or more....
 

Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
10,136
4
For stitchs no not always go off the bleeding as a way to know when to get them. I have had to get stitches twice now in cuts that hardly bleed at all. One was on my arm when it was cut by a watch it just wept some blood but really I would never of though anything of it expect for how deep ti was. The other was above my lip from a dog bit Both of those hardly bleed both needed stitches.

Stitches also are good for reducing scaring. The one on my lip one can only see it if I shaved bettween 1-3 days ago after that point it gone. The only reason one can see it during then 1-3 day time span is if they look closely they can see the line. Now the one on my chin you can see if you know it is there and that is only really because I support some facial hair.
 

SpookTheHamster

macrumors 65816
Nov 7, 2004
1,489
0
London
That would be the UK. We also use 112 (little known fact) for the old rotary dial type phones as having to do 999 on them takes ages and not the best in an emergency situation :).
999 was the original number, and was chosen because it was simple to make the number free to dial on a payphone, it is also easy to dial. 112 is the EU standard number, and is therefore also used in the UK. You'll even get through if you dial 911. For a real little known fact, 101 is the number to call for non-emergency situations.
 

mactastic

macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
3,681
665
Colly-fornia
the damn thing is a 65 dollar s&w too.
Time for a Spyderco. The only time mine's ever bit me was when I was being careless.

If you can still find one, I highly recommend the Dodo. Bought that for my wife to replace her previous Spyderco that she lost for about two weeks. By the time she found it, her new knife was already in her hands...

Her's is in matte black though. I don't really like the blue.
 

Raid

macrumors 68020
Feb 18, 2003
2,153
4,585
Toronto
My rule of thumb is that if won't close after a couple of minutes (or it's a gusher) then get to the hospital!

It's funny this came up, a few weeks ago I cut my hand on a kitchen knife that was blade-up in the dishwasher... I wanted to clear out the utensil tray with both hands; I guess wasn't looking where my left hand was going!

At the hospital they flushed the wound with hydrogen peroxide (my that stung) and I got a tetanus shot. When I was getting sewn up (six stitches) I was told I nicked a vein (which required an internal stitch), and the tendon in my index finger. :eek:

Lesson learned, all utensils are now pointy bits down, and sharp knives are designated to the back end!

And for your viewing pleasure a pic.. though this macro shot makes the cut look shorter, it's actually about 4cm long.
 

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