How to Tell if Your Cut Needs Stitches

It happens to everyone: a slight misstep while cutting coupons or wrapping a gift, slicing cheese or meat for dinner, or tripping on an uneven sidewalk causing a cut to form on your skin. Cuts are among the most complex of minor injuries, with the care needed to treat them dependent on a number of factors. If you are not sure how major your cut is, visit your local AFC Urgent Care immediately for treatment, including stitches.

What do stitches do?

Stitches are made of medical-grade thread, applied with a suture to close up your skin after sustaining a cut in order to prevent infection and stop residual bleeding. Stitches prevent harmful bacteria from contaminating the cut, leading to a longer recovery time. Stitches are available with absorbable and nonabsorbable thread. Absorbable material will be able to dissolve on their own after the cut has healed, while nonabsorbable stitches will require a followup visit with a physician for removal.

Do I Need Stitches?

The following factors will determine whether your cut can heal on its own after being disinfected and bandaged or if you will need stitches for a full recovery:


Parts of your skin are more vulnerable to splitting, prolonging the healing process. Cuts located near major joints like your elbows or knees or close to your eyes will most likely need stitches to heal due to the elasticity and movement of the skin.


Does your cut have jagged edges? Can you clearly see bone or deep tissue? If the answer to any of these is yes, you need to visit your local urgent care to have you cut examined, cleaned and stitched up immediately. You should also take note of how big the cut is. If it exceeds one inch in width or length, you may require stitches for a full recovery. Visit AFC Urgent Care Marlborough for an examination and have the cut treated if you are unsure.

How deep is the cut?

While cuts that simply graze the skin will be able to heal after a bandage is applied, deeper lacerations will require stitches or even staples in order to keep the skin together and encourage proper healing. Deeper cuts also require an examination to check for additional damage to tissue, tendons and even bones underneath.

Are you still bleeding?

Regardless of size, if your cut is continuing to bleed over fifteen minutes after it was sustained and will not stop under applied pressure, you should have it checked by a doctor for additional damage and treatment. Cuts can be deceiving and may be deeper than they initially appear.

If you have recently sustained a cut and are unsure of next steps for treatment, visit AFC Urgent Care Marlborough to have it examined and stitched up by a doctor.