Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Font Size

Getting Stitches (Sutures)

Caring for Stitches

The doctor or nurse will give you instructions for caring for your stitches as your cut heals. These may include specific steps for cleaning and dressing the wound. You may be advised to keep the wound and bandages dry.

Your doctor may also recommend an antibiotic ointment to help prevent infection and make you aware of signs that may indicate infection. Keep an eye out for such signs, including a fever higher than 100 degrees or red streaks on the skin near the wound. And if any of your stitches pop or break, or you have any other concerns, be sure to contact your doctor.

Removal of Stitches

Stitches typically need to remain in place for several days to a couple of weeks, depending on the severity of the cut and location. Your doctor will tell you when to come back to have them taken out. Removing stitches is a much faster process than putting them in. The doctor simply clips each thread near the knot and pulls them out. You may feel a slight tugging sensation, but the removal of stitches shouldn't hurt at all. You won't even need an anesthetic.

Although removing stitches is not a difficult process, you shouldn't try to remove them yourself. It's important for your doctor to check to see that the wound is healing properly and to make sure that it's OK for the stitches to come out. The doctor may also have special instructions for you after the stitches are removed, which may help minimize scarring.

Other Options

Stitches aren't the only option doctors have to close cuts and incisions. Cuts sometimes can be held together with butterfly tape or adhesive strips, which you may be able to do yourself at home for more minor cuts. There are even special staples or tissue glue, but those tend to work best with clean, straight incisions, such as in surgical procedures.

There are different criteria and care instructions for each type of closure. Your health care provider can help decide which is best for you and tell you how to care for your injury as it heals.

1|2

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on June 16, 2013

Today on WebMD

chafing
Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
woman with dyed dark hair
What it says about your health.
 
woman with cleaning products
Top causes of the itch that rashes.
atopic dermatitus
Identify and treat common skin problems.
 
itchy skin
Article
shingles rash on skin
Article
 
woman with skin tag
Quiz
Harvest mite
Slideshow
 
woman washing her hair in sink
Video
close up of womans bare neck
Tools
 
Feet
Slideshow
woman with face cream
Quiz