What to do if your stitches break open

Whether you had stitches placed because of a surgical procedure or any other type of wound, here is what you must do in case that they break or tear open.

When we get stitches for any type of wound, the physician in charge of giving you said stitches will tell you the special care that you will need to have in order to make sure that the wound stays closed, as well as give you tips and advise on how to help the area heal faster and properly. Keeping the wound clean is highly important to avoid any form of infection developing.

Be vigilant

In most cases, a tear of stitches start will not be sudden; usually you might notice that one or two of the stitches might open up. It is very important that you do not touch them, as you might be risking for more to open up or even causing an infection.

If and when you notice that your stitches might be coming loose, it is important that you go to the doctor, nurse office or even the emergency room to have the stitches placed again. Especially if your wound is relatively new. In case that your stitches are close to the date of removal, seeing one or two come off shouldn’t be alarming, but still it is safe if you consult with your doctor to know how to proceed.

When to contact your doctor

1.      When tending a wound you must contact your doctor in case any of the following issues happen:

2.      In case the skin surrounding the wound becomes swollen, red and painful

3.      If there is a leak of blood and pus emanating from the corner of the side of the wound.

4.      If you begin developing fever-like symptoms.

First Aid Wound Care

First and foremost, whoever is tending the opened stitches wound must wash their hands thoroughly. Remove any jewelry off your hands, wash and rinse well, then dry with a clean towel. In case that the wound has dressing, remove the old one and clean the area with mild soapy water or normal saline solution if possible.

Soak a gauze or cloth in the solution or soapy water and gently clean the wound and the area around it. Make sure that you remove any drainage, or dried blood, or residue that could have built around the wound.  Do not use alcohol, peroxide or soap that has antibacterial chemicals. Don’t remove the remaining stitches.

Place a clean dressing on the wound and secure with some adhesive tape. Make sure that the dressing is well placed and go to the doctor’s office, or the emergency room at the nearest hospital. 

Depending on the examination by a nurse or a doctor, you might either get some new stitches depending on how closed is the wound.

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Wound Care Treatment Guidelines and Medical Supplies