Do I Need Stitches? 9 Obvious Signs You Should Not Ignore

hand with stitches and stitching supplies next to it


On average, about 70 thousand children under 18 end up in the emergency room every day. The reasons vary to a great degree, but chances are your kid will be there at some point.

Kids often end up there with a cut, wound, or abrasion which needs stitches. But parents can be gun-shy about taking the trip because it’s not clear if they can handle the injury alone.

Let’s learn about some telltale sign for the question, “Do I need stitches?”

1. Direct Pressure Doesn’t Stop Bleeding

If you have added extra bandages to the wound, you are doing the right thing. Add gauze, don’t change it.

But if it keeps bleeding through each new one, you might need stitches. If direct pressure won’t stop the bleeding, get help.

2. Spurting Blood

When you cut an artery, the blood comes out in spurts in time with your pulse. This will require stitches to repair in most cases.

3. Depth of Cut

A cut can heal with relative ease if it is shallower than ¼ inch in most places. But once you get deeper than that, the skin starts to pull apart whenever moved.

Platelets thicken the blood, and allow it to dry. Dried blood acts like glue holding the skin together until the wound heals. But if movement reopens it, the healing process takes longer.

4. If Skin Won’t Easily Shut, Do I Need Stitches

Short answer, yes. The skin should close up with a small amount of pressure. As stated above, this helps the blood turn to glue.

If the skin won’t hold together, sutures will do the trick.

5. I See White Fatty Tissue

You definitely shouldn’t see anything that doesn’t look like skin. If you do, you have gone quite deep.

Your body will need extra help getting that wound to heal.

6. The Cut Is on a Joint

Joints, as you know, have less insulation. They have less because insulation prevents free movement.

The fingers, elbows, and knees have less skin coverage than most solid bones. Most cuts or injuries in these places need a medical examination at the very least.

7. Increasing Redness and Swelling

This can be a sign of something being in the early stages of infection. Inflammation needs special attention.

That may mean a salt water bath, or it may mean stitches.

8. Puss Started Oozing Out

Puss is always a bad sign. Your body is fighting harder than it should be, and something is in there that doesn’t belong.

Don’t squeeze it, and don’t try to handle it yourself. Hands and nails are the filthiest places on your body.

Get to a doctor so the wound can be cleaned, sutured, and bandaged with sterile equipment. They may also prescribe antibiotics.

9. Wounded by Something Rusty or Jagged

If you don’t know what caused the injury, get to the doctor for stitches. Especially in the case of punctures.

In many cases, you will need stitches and a tetanus shot. Antibiotics or other treatments may be necessary as well.

When in Doubt

If you don’t know, assume the worst, and get cuts looked at. An ER visit where only first aid was necessary is cheaper than waiting and having problems snowball.

If you feel like you are guessing, guess toward the safer option. If the answer to your question do I need stitches, is yes, then contact us at State Urgent Care.