Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Taking Care of Your Stitches or Staples
Your wound will need care and observation. After the stitches or
staples are put in, the area may be covered with a thin layer of ointment and covered with a nonstick bandage. Your doctor will
give you instructions on how to care for your stitches or staples. Be sure to
follow those instructions.
Check with your doctor about how long you need to keep your wound dry. In some cases the bandage can be removed after 24 to 48 hours, and the wound can then be gently washed to remove the crust. Do not scrub or soak the wound during the first 48 hours.
If you did not get instructions, follow this general advice:
It is normal for stitches or staples to cause a small amount of skin
redness and swelling where the stitch or staple enters the skin. Your wound may
itch or feel irritated. Check your wound every day for
signs of infection.
Your cut may not need a
bandage if it is not likely to get dirty, it is not draining, and it is in an area
where clothing will not rub it. If you use a bandage, change it every 24 hours
and anytime it gets wet or very dirty.
Your doctor will tell you when to have your stitches or
staples removed. When deciding how long to leave your stitches or staples in
place, your doctor will consider several factors, such as the
location, depth, and size of your wound and your general health. Be sure to
follow his or her instructions.
Most of the time, stitches are removed:
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Current as ofMay 27, 2016
Current as of:
May 27, 2016
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.