Minor scrapes and cuts often heal on their own but more serious cuts or incisions are treated by urgent care doctors through surgical procedures using sutures or stitches to hold tissues together while repairing the damage. The goal of stitches and sutures are to close wounds to your skin or other tissues, but these two terms are not the same.
For sutures, doctors may use a thread or strand of material to close the wound. The word “stitches” refers to a surgical procedure of wound closure with sutures. To simplify it, the suture is a name for the medical device used to repair the wound. The stitching is a technique used for wound closure.
When the urgent care providers suture a wound or use threat for healing the wound, they will stitch the wound shut using a needle attached to a length of thread. If you are injured or have experienced trauma, you must visit a walk-in clinic to get stitches that will help heal cuts with minimal risk of infection or scarring.
Types of Sutures & Stitches
For Suturing, your doctor will choose from a variety of materials based on your wound or procedure. Sutures can be classified in many ways. It can be either absorbable or non-absorbable.
Absorbable sutures get broken down and completely dissolved by the body over time. They get naturally digested by enzymes found in the tissues of the body. The doctors don’t need to remove them. Some materials used for absorbable sutures are derived from specially processed animal products. Others are made from gut, polydioxanone, polylactic acid, polyglyconate, and polyglycolic acid.
Non-absorbable or permanent sutures are the one that needs to be removed by your doctor. They are useful for long-term tissue wound closure and healing process. They are resistant to body chemical and therefore, cannot get dissolved in the healing process. The materials used for non-absorbable sutures may include nylon, silk or polypropylene.
According to the original structure of the material, the suture material can also be classified into monofilament and braided sutures. Monofilament sutures contain a single thread that allows it to easily pass through tissues. Braided sutures comprise various small threads braided together for better security. Additionally, sutures can be made from natural or synthetic material.
The walk-in doctors may choose from the following sub-types of stitches:
Mattress Stitches – These can be placed either vertically or horizontally under the layers of tissue deep into the skin layers. This stitch is used to close the incision edges while minimizing tension.
Continuous Stitch – This technique comprises a series of stitches using the same suture line without cutting. It can be placed rapidly as it distributes the tension evenly throughout the length of the stitched wound.
Subcuticular Stitch – The doctor uses absorbable sutures to make the stitch in the dermis, which is the layer of tissues below the upper layer of the skin. Short stitches are made parallel to the wound and then anchored at either end of it for better closure.
Simple Interrupted Stitching – This technique uses several strands of suture material for more precise closure of the tissue. This type is preferred to close the wound of skin and fascia.
Signs You Need Stitches
Not all cuts require stitches. Your doctor at urgent care clinic determines if the stitches are needed. Seek medical assistance from your walk-in doctor if you experience any of the following conditions.
- The cut is deep, gapping or jagged
- The cut is on the face or other body parts where scarring can be a problem
- Cut bleeds continuously after 20 minutes of direct pressure
- Cut is in a hand or limb that affects its functioning
- The affected area feels numb
Visit your doctor for any of these signs. Meanwhile, it is advised to apply direct pressure to help control bleeding. For certain cases like puncture wounds, stitching may not be recommended.
Stitches & Suture Removal
Once the urgent care doctor has closed your wound, you will be given instructions for caring for your stitches. These include certain steps for cleaning and dressing the wound and keeping bandages dry. You may also be recommended an antibiotic ointment to avoid getting an infection.
If you observe any of the signs like high fever, red streaks on the skin near the affected area, or your stitches break, see to your walk-in doctor immediately. Removal of stitches depends on where they are on your body. For suture removal, your doctor will sterilize the area, clips each thread near the knot and gently pulls them out.
There are different procedures and care instructions for each type of wound closure. Find a skilled and experienced doctor who can help decide the best for you. If you are looking for the best walk-in clinic in Brooklyn, New York, visit Artisans of Medicine today! Our doctors are dedicated to providing you immediate care and assist you on how to care for your injury after healing.