How to care for a wound with stitches

How to care for a wound with stitches

When the skin and flesh have lost their continuity stitches are required and will be completed by a doctor or nurse. During this process you have to take care of the wound so that the healing process can run its course without complications. After an estimated period and with adequate care of the stitches, wound closure is achieved. On we explain how to care for a wound with stitches.

Steps to follow:

The steps are very simple, yourself / or someone else has to take care of the stitched wound daily. The following steps will help you keep the wound clean and disinfected until it heals.


After the wound has been stitched up the nurse may cover the wound with a dressing made of gauze and tape. During the first day is better not to take off the dressing and to keep it in place until 24 hours has passed (if you have not exposed the dressing to dirt).


The first step to take to start treatment is to carefully uncover the dressing, because the stitched area will be sensitive. It is important to look at the wound and make sure that it looks good, you may find that the area where the stitches are red.


Secondly, you must wash the wound. Some patients wash the wound daily during their shower. If you do this during bathing you must carefully wash the wound with soap and water. If you do not wash it during bathing, you can use saline and apply soap with sterile gauze.


After washing the wound with stitches, it is essential to thoroughly dry the area as moistures impedes healing. You can do this with a clean towel which you solely use to dry the wound with stitches or with sterile gauze.


For the next step you need to beware of any allergies, as some solutions can trigger allergic reactions. Use Cristalmina (diluted chlorhexidine) to heal the wound; it is easy to apply and usually comes in the form of spray.

Betadine or iodine solution can also be used although Cristalmina is advised, as it does not stain the wound and thus you can see its evolution. If using Betadine a few dabs with a sterile gauze is sufficient.


The technique for applying iodine or chlorhexidine with a gauze is always to do so in a circular motion. You must start with the area where the stitches are and "paint" it on outwards. This keeps the wound sterile, if you applied it from the outside in you would bring bacteria into the open wound.


During the early days it is important cover the wound with stitches, because the skin is open and there is a greater chance of infection. To do this, use sterile gauze that can be easily cut and a plaster. It is important that the gauze covers the area with stitches well and that the tape surrounds the healthy area.


In the final days and when the sutured wound starts to crust and the skin starts to join back together, you are advised not to cover the wound. The exceptions that follow the application of a dressing are when there is risk of friction with clothing, exposure to dirt, or if the stitches are not evolving well.


When the doctor or nurse removes the stitches, you can continue to take care of the scar by moisturizing the area the stitches were. Moisturiser and healing oils are often used. You should also regularly use sunscreen on the area and avoid sun exposure. Doing so will ensure that the scar doesn't stay so visible.


It is important that during the entire process you evaluate the wound every time you uncover it and you check the colour, appearance, temperature and possible occurrence of secretions. Whenever you suspect that something is not right, see a specialist.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

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