Abdominal Pain - Female
Abdominal Pain - Male
Acne
Animal or Human Bite
Antibiotics: When Do They Help
Arm Injury
Arm Pain
Asthma Attack
Athlete's Foot
Back Pain
Bed Bug Bite
Bee or Yellow Jacket Sting
Blisters
Bottle-Feeding Formula Questions
Breast-Feeding Questions
Bruise
Burn
Chest Pain
Chickenpox
Circumcision Problems
Colds
Constipation
Cough
Coughs: Meds or Home Remedies
Cracked or Dry Skin
Cradle Cap
Croup
Crying Baby - Before 3 Months Old
Crying Child - 3 Months and Older
Cut, Scrape, or Bruise
Diaper Rash
Diarrhea
Diarrhea Diseases From Travel
Dizziness
Drinking Fluids - Decreased
Dry Skin
Ear - Congestion
Ear - Discharge
Ear - Injury
Ear - Pulling At or Rubbing
Ear - Swimmer's
Ear Infection Questions
Earache
Earwax Buildup
Ebola Exposure
Eczema
Emergency Symptoms Not to Miss
Eye - Allergy
Eye - Foreign Body or Object
Eye - Injury
Eye - Pus or Discharge
Eye - Red Without Pus
Eye - Swelling
Fever
Fever - How to Take the Temperature
Fever - Myths Versus Facts
Fifth Disease
Finger Injury
Fire Ant Sting
Flu
Fluid Intake Decreased
Food Allergy
Foreskin Care Questions
Frostbite
Genital Injury - Female
Genital Injury - Male
Hair Loss
Hand-Foot-And-Mouth Disease HFMD
Hay Fever
Head Injury
Headache
Heat Exposure and Reactions
Heat Rash
Hives
Human or Animal Bite
Immunization Reactions
Impetigo - Infected Sores
Infection Exposure Questions
Influenza - Seasonal
Influenza Exposure
Insect Bite
Jaundiced Newborn
Jellyfish Sting
Leg Injury
Leg Pain
Lice - Head
Lymph Nodes - Swollen
Medication - Refusal to Take
Mental Health Problems
Molluscum
Mosquito Bite
Mosquito-Borne Diseases from Travel
Motion Sickness
Mouth Injury
Mouth Ulcers
Neck Pain or Stiffness
Newborn Appearance Questions
Newborn Illness - How to Recognize
Newborn Rashes and Birthmarks
Newborn Reflexes and Behavior
Nose Allergy Hay Fever
Nose Injury
Nosebleed
Penis-Scrotum Symptoms
Pinworms
Poison Ivy - Oak - Sumac
Puncture Wound
Rash or Redness - Localized
Rash or Redness - Widespread
Reflux Spitting Up
Ringworm
Roseola
Scabies
Scrape
Sinus Pain or Congestion
Skin Foreign Body or Object
Skin Injury
Skin Lump
Sliver or Splinter
Sore Throat
Spider Bite
Spitting Up - Reflux
Stomach Pain - Female
Stomach Pain - Male
Stools - Blood In
Stools - Unusual Color
Strep Throat Exposure
Strep Throat Infection
Sty
Sunburn
Suture Questions
Swallowed Foreign Body or Object
Swallowed Harmless Substance
Swimmer's Itch - Lakes and Oceans
Tear Duct - Blocked
Teething
Thrush
Tick Bite
Toe Injury
Toenail - Ingrown
Tooth Injury
Toothache
Umbilical Cord Symptoms
Urinary Tract Infection - Female
Urination Pain - Female
Urination Pain - Male
Vaginal Symptoms
Vomiting With Diarrhea
Vomiting Without Diarrhea
Warts
Wheezing Other Than Asthma
Wound Infection

Resources

Is Your Child Sick?TM


Suture Questions

Is this your child's symptom?

  • Common questions about sutures or stitches
  • Skin glue (Dermabond) questions are also covered

If NOT, try one of these:


When Sutures (Stitches) are Needed for Cuts

  • Any cut that is split open or gaping needs sutures.
  • Cuts longer than ½ inch (12 mm) usually need sutures.
  • On the face, cuts longer than ¼ inch (6 mm) usually need to be seen. They usually need closure with sutures or skin glue.
  • Any open wound that may need sutures should be seen as soon as possible. Ideally, they should be checked and closed within 6 hours. Reason: To prevent wound infections. There is no cutoff, however, for treating open wounds.

When Sutures (Stitches) Should be Removed

  • Stitches and staples are used to keep wounds together during healing.
  • They need to be removed within 4-14 days.
  • The specific removal date depends on the location of the stitches or staples.
  • Removal should not be delayed. Reason: will leave skin marks.

Wounds That Re-Open After Closure

  • Sutures that come out early cause the most concern.
  • For open cuts, call your child's doctor now. General guidelines for re-suturing or re-gluing are listed below:
  • Face Cuts. If a face wound has re-opened, call your doctor now. The cut may need to be re-glued or re-stitched. It does not matter how long it's been since sutures (or glue) were placed.
  • Body Cuts and Less Than 48 Hours. If the wound is elsewhere on the body, call your doctor now. The cut may need restitched (or glued) if gaping open. This is sometimes done if suturing was less than 48 hours ago.
  • Body Cuts and Over 48 Hours Ago. Call your doctor now for advice. After 48 hours, re-suturing is rarely done (except on the face). After 48 hours, the sutured wound can be reinforced with tape.
  • Cut Is Closed, but suture has come out early. The wound should heal up fine without any further treatment. Check with your child's doctor within the next 24 hours.

When to Call for Suture Questions

Call 911 Now

  • Not moving or too weak to stand
  • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Stitch came out early and part of wound has opened up
  • Wound looks infected (spreading redness, pus)
  • Fever occurs
  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Suture came out early but wound is still closed
  • Suture removal is overdue
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Sutured wound with no complications

Call 911 Now

  • Not moving or too weak to stand
  • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Stitch came out early and part of wound has opened up
  • Wound looks infected (spreading redness, pus)
  • Fever occurs
  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Suture came out early but wound is still closed
  • Suture removal is overdue
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Sutured wound with no complications

Care Advice for Sutures

  1. Suture Care for a Normal Sutured Wound:
    • Keep sutured wounds completely dry for first 24 hours. (4 hours for Dermabond skin glue). If needed, use a sponge bath.
    • After 24 hours, can take brief showers.
    • Avoid swimming, baths or soaking the wound until sutures are removed. Avoid getting Dermabond skin glue wet until it has fallen off. Reason: Water in the wound can interfere with healing.
    • Use an antibiotic ointment (such as Polysporin) 3 times a day. No prescription is needed. Reason: To prevent infection and a thick scab. (Caution: Don't apply any ointments or creams to Dermabond skin glue.)
    • Cleanse surface with warm water once daily or if becomes dirty.
    • Change wound dressing when wet or dirty.
    • A dressing is no longer needed when edge of wound is closed. This takes about 48 hours. Exception: Dressing is needed to prevent sutures from catching on clothing.
  2. Pain Medicine:
    • To help with the pain, give an acetaminophen product (such as Tylenol).
    • Another choice is an ibuprofen product (such as Advil).
    • Use as needed.
  3. Suture Removal Date. Here are some guidelines for when sutures (stitches) should be removed:
    • Scalp: 7- 10 days
    • Face: 4-5 days
    • Neck: 7 days
    • Chest, abdomen or back: 7- 10 days
    • Arms and back of hands: 7 days
    • Legs and top of feet: 10 days
    • Palms, soles, fingers or toes: 12-14 days
    • Overlying a joint:12-14 days
  4. Suture Removal Delays:
    • Don't miss your appointment for removing sutures.
    • Leaving sutures in too long can leave skin marks. Sometimes, it can cause scarring.
    • It also makes taking the sutures out harder.
  5. Suture Out Early:
    • If the sutures come out early, close the wound with tape. You can also use a butterfly bandage (such as Band-Aid).
    • Do this until the office visit.
  6. Wound Protection After Sutures Out:
    • Protect the wound from injury during the month after.
    • Avoid sports that could re-injure the wound. If a sport is essential, cover with tape before playing.
    • Allow the scab to fall off on its own. Do not try to pick it off. (Reason: Prevents scarring.)
  7. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Starts to looks infected
    • Fever occurs
    • Sutures come out early
    • You think your child needs to be seen
    • Your child becomes worse

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Copyright 1994-2017 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC. All rights reserved.

Wound Infection - Suture Site

There is a pimple where a stitch comes through the skin. The pimple suggests a low-grade infection.

Laceration - Scalp (After Staples)

This photo shows a scalp laceration after it has been closed with 4 metal medical staples.

Select from over 100 symptoms to learn about managing your child's illness.