How can I care for my stitches?

The best way to care for stitches is to follow your doctor's advice and keep the stitches clean. Learn more from Brian Evans, MD, from West Hills Hospital & Medical Center in this video.

One to three days after receiving stitches, you should wash your stitched wound since this often prevents scarring. To decrease swelling of the area, you may want to elevate the wound. You might want to wash and rebandage your stitches once a day, as well as apply antibiotic ointment, to avoid infection. Signs of infection include redness spreading from the wound site, increasing pain, drainage, warmth, swelling and a bad odor.

If you experience any sign of infection you should contact your doctor. Stitches are usually removed in three to 14 days, depending on where the cut is located. Areas that move, such as over or around the joints, require more time to heal.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.