Childr Health Information

Instructions for The Home Care of Sutured Wounds

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Topic: Tests & Procedures

This handout was written to answer some of the questions most often asked about the home care of the sutured (stitched) wound. Feel free to ask your doctor or nurse to explain any information you do not understand.

Your physician may give you some specific instructions; however, the following instructions will help you take care of your child’s sutures (stitches) until they are removed.
1. Your child’s wound has been closed with a thread that should help healing and decrease the risk for infection.
2. Depending on where the wound is and what the doctor tells you, the stitches may or may not be covered with a dressing.
3. If the wound is covered, carefully remove the dressing applied in the emergency department after a day. Look at the wound for signs of infection listed below.
4. Gently clean the wound area with water (or soap and water) twice daily to keep the suture line from crusting. Cotton swab, cotton ball or soft cloth may be used. Dry the wound thoroughly with a gauze pad or clean cloth.
5. Apply an antibiotic ointment such as Bacitracin® or Neosporin® to the suture line with a clean Q-tip and cover. This is recommended every 24-48 hours.
6. Limited bathing can begin 24 hours after wound repair, taking care not to submerge the sutured wound. Bathing and swimming are safe after 48 hours unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
7. Your child’s stitches should be removed in _____ days. Call your child’s doctor tomorrow and make an appointment to take out the stitches or get further instructions to help you take care of your child’s wound at home.
8. Call your doctor, if the stitches pull out.

If at any time you see any of the following possible signs of infection, you should call your child’s doctor immediately. If you are unable to reach the doctor, return to the emergency department.
1. Swelling (puffiness) of the skin around the wound
2. Increasing redness around the wound or red streaks branching out from wound
3. Increased pain in the area of the wound
4. Fever
5. The area around the wound feels hot to touch
6. Drainage from the wound
7. Foul smell from the wound

Sutures are ready for removal at different times, depending on the site of the wound. The following tables can serve as a guide:
Area of Body Number of Days
Face 3-5
Neck 5
Scalp 6
Anterior chest or abdomen 7
Arms and back of hands 7
Legs and top of feet 10
Back 10
Palms and soles 14
Have your child’s stitches removed on the correct day. Stitches removed too late can leave unnecessary skin marks or even scarring. If any sutures come out too early, call your child’s physician.

After your child’s sutures are removed:
• protect the wound from injury during the following month
• avoid sports that could re-injure the wound. If your child does play sports, apply tape before playing
• avoid the sun


Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Corregido: 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Revised: 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005


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