Laceration Repair

We do laceration repairs at our clinic! If you have a tear or cut in your skin, tissue and or muscle, you may need to have a laceration repair. This is a procedure that includes cleaning, preparing, and closing of an open wound. This can be done at our clinic by one of three methods including, sutures, staples, or glue.

When do I need a Laceration Repair?

You may need a laceration repair if you have exposed muscle, fat, tendon, or bone. Also, if bleeding continues after applying direct pressure for 10-15 minutes. Lacerations may vary in length, depth, and width, some lacerations may be so deep that tendons or arteries are damaged. In this circumstance you would need to seek care at an Emergency Room as closing your wound will require further evaluation and more extensive care. If you have a facial laceration you will also need to seek Emergency care rather than Urgent Care.

What to expect when you come to our clinic: If you have a simple laceration, our trained medical staff will go over the procedure with you in detail. First, the wound will be irrigated and cleaned. Next, the wound will be sterilized with sterile liquid prep. The physician will then either glue the wound or anesthetize the wound with Lidocaine and close it with suture or staples. This may be uncomfortable for a few seconds, but  soon you will have no feeling in the area allowing the physician to close the wound pain free. The physician will then close the wound with either staples or most commonly the suture closing technique.  Once the wound is closed, we will apply the dressing site with antibiotic ointment and gauze bringing the procedure to completion. If you are not up to date on your Tetanus shot, you will have the opportunity to have one at this time. You may also be put on a course of antibiotics to prevent infection.

What to expect after sutures have been placed: After you have your sutures or staples put in, or the wound glued, you will be given an aftercare guide. In this guide you will see specific aftercare instructions to ensure your wound heals properly. After your procedure you must:

  • Keep wound area dry for the first 24 hours.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment and a clean Band-Aid or dressing daily for 48 hours. After two days, you may leave the sutures uncovered. However, if you will be in an environment where your stitches are likely to get dirty, keep the stitches covered. You may clean gently with mild soap and water after 48 hours to prevent crusting over suture knots.
  • You may shower if the Physician gives permission but do not take a bath or swim until the skin has healed. Be sure to change the dressing after you shower.
  • Never leave a wet dressing or Band-Aid on your stitches as this allows bacteria to reach the area and cause infection.

This procedure is usually very simple and without complication, however if you begin to see warning signs of infection please return to our office immediately. Warning signs may include: increasing redness, tenderness, or warmth around the suture site, unusual swelling, appearance of pus, and/or fever.

How Long do I have to have sutures in place? This depends on how well the wound is healing and where the wound is located. Most Sutures can safely be removed in 7-14 days. Scarring may occur. It is recommended to not let direct sunlight hit new scars for three months. This is because scars are very susceptible to the sun’s damaging UV rays. Too much sun exposure could cause discoloration of scars or cause them to thicken. Apply sunscreen over scars that are not protected by clothing.