How To Tell if You Need Stitches


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There are certain incidents of that qualify as a medical emergency wherein a person needs to seek immediate professional intervention. This could be a variety of situations from strokes, heart attacks, choking, or some kind of physical trauma. For the most part, everyone has experienced that moment where something happens to them or they begin to feel a certain way, and then they think ‘should I go to the doctor?’  

Take that a step further, and the question of ‘should I call 911?’ is something that almost every adult has at least thought about once. Sometimes this question can be hard to answer because rationally you may have trouble understanding the gravity of a medical situation.  

For example, it’s not abnormal and you aren’t being a bad steward of your health if you have ever experienced some kind of medical situation where you didn’t know what to do. Maybe in that moment, rather than call 911 you call a parent or a good friend and get their advice. Either way, there are times when the right move is blatantly obvious, and then there are times when it is just not.  

One situation that can seem a little tricky to make the right judgment call on, is whether or not a laceration needs stitches or not. If you have found yourself in the past wondering about this for you or a friend or loved one, and are curious about how you can be more certain about the right move in the future – here is everything you need to know!  

Why Are Lacerations so Tricky?

There are seemingly two kinds of people in the world, those who have no problem whatsoever with going to the doctor or seeking professional medical attention, and those who do everything they possibly can to avoid it. Neither party necessarily is wrong, and this to some degree is just how certain people are wired.  

For the person who is very comfortable with seeking medical attention, the concept of getting something like a laceration checked out immediately isn’t even a challenge. For those who may lean toward making professional medical attention a last resort, it can be hard to know what laceration calls for a visit to the doctor and what doesn’t.   

A laceration is technically any kind of cut that goes deeper than the skin. Hence, a laceration could be everything from a paper cut all the way to a gnarly accident involving a chainsaw! What makes lacerations hard to judge, is the fact that sometimes they don’t bleed as much as you would have thought, and other times they bleed much more than expected. 

Aside from keeping the affected area clean, the most common treatment for a laceration is going to be getting stitches. Stitches are medical sutures that are placed in the wound to help hold it together so the body can naturally heal itself.  

When Are Stitches Necessary? 

Stitches are typically considered necessary when a laceration is so deep or extensive, that it will not naturally heal on its own. Now, it’s important to note that a bandaid technically does the same thing as a set of stitches, but these are meant to be used on superficial lacerations. 

A laceration that requires stitches will be a wound that may pull apart easily if a bandaid was used, or is deep enough to require a more secure, firm, closure. The whole point of a bandaid or stitches is to close the wound to help protect it from infection, as well as bring the separated skin and flesh together. The natural healing elements of the body do the rest of the work by repairing and joining together the separated skin and flesh.  

What Should You Do If You Need Stitches? 

The good news is that if you ever suspect that a laceration is too deep or significant to be handled by a bandaid and may need stitches, going to local urgent care can provide you with the treatment you need. Urgent cares, like the urgent care lexington ky are typically easy to get into, much more accessible than an ER or last-minute appointment with a doctor’s office, and offer everything needed to handle stitches.  

If it turns out that you need stitches, a licensed medical professional will be able to diagnose and treat you in one visit. If you don’t then you will still receive the treatment necessary. Local urgent cares, like the urgent care in Lexington KY, is more than prepared to handle lacerations that require stitches.  


The main benefit of urgent care is that you can get immediate medical care without having to go through the typical emergency pathways. This allows you to still get the speedy medical care you need without taking up resources that are designed for life-saving measures like ambulances or ERs.  

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