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When do you know you need stitches?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
My dp cut himself while sharpening the butcher knife last night. He doesn't have health insurance, but I think he needs stitches. The cut is across his knuckle, about 2cm long, and pretty deep. It's tough to keep the edges together since it's on the knuckle, but he fashioned a splint to keep it straight. How will we know if he REALLY needs stitches?

post #2 of 6
From what I understand, if you wait too long to see a doctor, they won't give you stitches anyway. Too much chance of infection.

IMHO, a deep cut on a joint probably needs to be assessed by someone. Is his finger functioning properly? Movement-wise, that is?

Be prepared if you do see a doctor, they will recommend a tetanus vaccine.

post #3 of 6
my ds cut his knee badly on a piece of glass when he was 3 and we couldn't get it to hold together or stop bleeding. he did need stitches (7), and it was a bad, bad experience. They told us that when it is on a moving joint like that, especially on a child, it is really hard to get the glue or the butterfly bandages to work.

I have had stitches in my fingers, and it was not bad.

The previous poster is right, if you wait too long, you can't have stitches anyway. get some of the butterfly bandages and put them on really tight, and put some neosporin on it (SP?) good luck.
post #4 of 6
Here is a listing of when to go to the doctor:
The wound is jagged.
The wound is on your face.
The edges of the cut gape open.
The cut has dirt in it that won't come out.
The cut becomes tender or inflamed.
The cut drains a thick, creamy, grayish fluid.
You start to run a temperature over 100°F.
The area around the wound feels numb.
You can't move comfortably.
Red streaks form near the wound.
It's a puncture wound or a deep cut and you haven't had a tetanus shot in the past 5 years.
The cut bleeds in spurts, blood soaks through the bandage or the bleeding doesn't stop after 10 minutes of firm, direct pressure.
(From http://familydoctor.org/healthfacts/041/)

Here is a neat scouting site about stitches, including information about how long is too long for stitches.
It looks like 24 hours is the maximum. However, he does say that knife cuts are less likely to demand stitches than jagged cuts. The main reasons for needing stitches are scar minimizing and infection prevention. My take is that your dh can't get stitches anymore, but he should do all he can to minimize the chance of infection and to bring the edges of the cut together.
(Only if he has full movement of the joint of course).
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice! My dp didn't end up going to the doctor, but he's kept the cut very clean and covered. We also used butterfly bandages, and the edges seem to be adhering and he can even bend the knuckle a little without aggravating the cut. He also took some arnica, so hopefully that helped too.
post #6 of 6
was the knife clean while he was using it?

i knwo sounds dumb but someone might sharpen it while dirty

my dh just cut himself while helping fix dinner a couple months ago and they were very concerned about the condition of hte knife and esp. if meats were involved

i'd suggest some sort of soaking on a daily basis to clean it - deep wounds have a tendancy to heal from the skin down adn stuff can get sealed inside that you dont want inside
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