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First Aid & Emergencies

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Puncture Wounds: Stitches, Staples, and Skin Adhesives - Topic Overview

Puncture wounds are less likely than cuts to be stitched, stapled, or have a skin adhesive applied because:

  • Puncture wounds tend to be smaller than cuts and usually do not heal better or scar less when stitched.
  • Puncture wounds tend to be deeper, narrower, and harder to clean than cuts. Sealing bacteria into a wound when it is stitched increases the risk of infection.
  • If a puncture wound becomes infected, the wound usually drains better and heals faster when it is not stitched.

Puncture wounds may be stitched if the cosmetic appearance of the resulting scar will be greatly improved or if stitching is needed to restore function to an injured deep structure, such as a tendon or ligament.

Recommended Related to First Aid

Understanding Frostbite -- Prevention

Frostbite can result in serious consequences, so prevention is extremely important. If you are planning outdoor activities, check weather forecasts frequently and heed warnings about cold temperatures and possible storms that might strand you in dangerous conditions. Avoid risky situations -- such as hikes or camping trips in cold weather -- that may be beyond your experience level. It is also wise to consult local park rangers or other authorities about the weather, terrain, avalanche danger,...

Read the Understanding Frostbite -- Prevention article > >

If you think you may need your wound closed by a health professional, see Are Stitches, Staples, or Skin Adhesives Necessary?

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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