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MD Now Urgent Care Treatment for Cuts: Staples, Sutures, Strips and Sterile Glue

Posted on March 13, 2014 and filed under Cuts and Lacerations, General Health

If a miniature Evil Knievel lives in your house, you’re likely already on a first-name basis with local MD Now Urgent Care physicians. But if you haven’t had any recent first-hand encounters with sharp objects, you may not know that options for closing wounds have moved far beyond traditional needle and thread. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of today’s wound closure methods can provide peace of mind when your next nasty gash occurs.

Expert practitioners at MD Now Urgent Care centers, located throughout South Florida, are well experienced in such minor emergencies and offer this quick primer in the care and treatment of lacerations for patients “in the know”.

The skin is the largest organ of the body. All cuts, scratches and abrasions to the skin, even those that appear minor, represent an opportunity for infection and therefore demand careful medical attention.

While small cuts on the upper layers of skin can be cared for at home by using proper first aid techniques like thorough wound cleansing and suitable application of sterile bandages, larger cuts that bleed profusely and leave a gaping wound require urgent medical attention.

Dependent upon the site of the injury, the severity of the cut, and the patient’s age and medical history, the MD Now Urgent Care physician in charge of your care may recommend any one of a number of therapeutic alternatives as the preferred choice for closing a wound of the skin tissue.

Below are the four most frequently used methods of wound closures:

  • Suturing
  • Stapling
  • Tissue adhesives, like Dermabond®
  • SteriStrips

Suturing

For rough-and-tumble kids with minor wounds, suturing remains the most preferred method for simple wound repair. Sutures provide more flexibility with less risk of re-opening the wound during the healing process.

A local anesthetic is usually necessary for stitching of the tissue. After the procedure, the patient is asked return to the office – usually within five to ten days – so the practitioner may remove the sutures and examine the wound to make sure it is healing properly.

In some cases, such as those which are cosmetically important but not located in high stress areas like knuckles and joints, your medical provider may choose to use a finer thread gauge (6.0) for suturing lacerations. For those lacerations on hands, fingers, feet and joints, our doctors will typically choose a thicker thread because it provides patients maximum mobility in the performance of daily tasks.

Staples

Every wound is different, as is every patient’s age and medical history. Therefore before determining a laceration’s preferred treatment, our providers will make a careful, individualized evaluation for the medical care of every wound. In some cases, such as scalp lacerations, your provider may recommend the use of sterile medical staples.

Staples are often the preferred method of treatment for scalp lacerations because in most cases one’s hair grows quickly to cover any visible marks left by stapling. Staples may also be recommended for lacerations on extremities such as forearms, thighs and calves.

The advantage of staples is they can be inserted quickly – often three to four times faster than suturing. This may provide some relief for squirmy kids and nervous parents. Staples have a lower risk of infection and often do not require local anesthesia. They are easy to remove, but like sutures a medical professional must remove them.

SteriStrips

Steri-strips are thin adhesive strips that can be used to close small wounds. Also known as “butterfly” stitches, they are applied across the laceration in a manner that pulls the skin on either side of the wound together. They may be used instead of sutures in some injuries, because they lessen scarring, do not require anesthetic and are easier to care for. They are used on cuts of lower severity. This method works especially well on the elderly, where skin becomes paper-thin and other methods are difficult to use. Doctors may also use these strips to secure the integrity of a wound that has previously been closed by sutures or staples after the sutures have been removed while the skin is still healing.

Sterile Glue

Your urgent care physician may also choose to use a Dermabond® closure. Dermabond® is a liquid bonding agent that often holds many cuts, wounds, and incisions together as effectively as stitches do. Designed for small lacerations, it is most often used on low-tension areas like foreheads, eyebrows, around the eyes. Like SteriStrips, Dermabond® requires no anesthesia and can be less traumatizing to children. Unfortunately, it can’t be used on the knees, ankles, or around the mouth.

Every Wound is Different: Seek Proper Medical Attention

Slicing a finger, or receiving a gash or abrasion is never a welcome event, and treating a wound at home can have negative consequences like ugly scars, infection and immobility.  Let MD Now Urgent Care use the latest in medical technology to reduce your pain and discomfort, as well as minimize your chances of infection. The next time you do have a run-in with a sharp object, remember MD Now Urgent Care’s trained team of medical professionals are on hand to choose a method of wound closure that works best for you and your wound. To find an MD Now Urgent care in your neighborhood, log on to www.mymdnow.com.

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