Suture Questions

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Care at Home

  • SUTURE CARE FOR A NORMAL SUTURED WOUND: * Keep sutured wounds completely dry for first 24 hours. (4 hours for Dermabond skin glue). If needed, use a sponge bath. * After 24 hours, can take brief showers. * Avoid swimming, baths or soaking the wound until sutures are removed. Avoid getting Dermabond skin glue wet until it has fallen off. Reason: Water in the wound can interfere with healing. * Use an antibiotic ointment 3 times a day. An example is Polysporin. No prescription is needed. Reason: To prevent infection and a thick scab. (Caution: Don't apply any ointments or creams to Dermabond skin glue.) * Cleanse surface with warm water once daily or if becomes dirty. * Change wound dressing when wet or dirty. * A dressing is no longer needed when edge of wound closed. This takes about 48 hours. Exception: Dressing is needed to prevent sutures from catching on clothing.
  • REMOVAL DATE: Guidelines for when particular sutures (stitches) should be removed:Face4-5 daysNeck 7 daysArms and back of hands7 daysScalp7-10 daysChest, abdomen or back7- 10 daysLegs and top of feet10 daysPalms, soles, fingers or toes12-14 daysOverlying a joint12-14 days
  • REMOVAL DELAYS: * Don't miss your appointment for removing sutures. * Leaving sutures in too long can leave skin marks. Sometimes, it can cause scarring. * It also makes taking the sutures out harder.
  • SUTURE OUT EARLY: * If the sutures come out early, close the wound with tape. You can also use butterfly Band-Aids. * Do this until the office visit.
  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF: * Starts to looks infected * Fever occurs * Sutures come out early * Your child becomes worse
  • WOUND PROTECTION: After taking the sutures out: * Protect the wound from injury during the month after. * Avoid sports that could re-injure the wound. If a sport is essential, cover with tape before playing. * Allow the scab to fall off on its own. Do not try to pick it off. (Reason: Prevents scarring.)
  • PAIN MEDICINE: * To help with the pain, give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Use as needed. See Dose Table.


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