How To Suture In An Emergency
First of all, This is not to be taken lightly. IF YOU HAVE ACCESS TO A MEDICAL FACILITY THEN RECEIVE TREATMENT AT A MEDICAL FACILITY. Stitching yourself up can be very dangerous. It can lead to serious infections that can take your life. Sutures can be a life and death situation. It is best to leave it to a medical professional if at all possible.
Now that we have that out of the way... Humans have been stitching wounds shut for a very.. very long time. The earliest reports of stitches date back to 3000 BC in ancient Egypt. And we actually found wounds stitched up on a mummy that died in 1100 BC. Pretty interesting stuff. Sutures back then were made of the stuff they had lying around such as plant materials, animal tendons, hair, and catgut ( which is cord made from dried animal intestines.... eww ) Well I can honestly tell you, I'm glad i don't have to use my own hair to stitch myself up lol.
So lets get into it. Here's a QUICK overview of the basics of suturing a wound. This is nowhere near all of the information out there and there are several different suturing methods.
Clean Everything- It is important to sterilize all of the tools you will be using properly. If not sterilized, serious, life threatening infections can occur. Use alcohol, peroxide, heat, or whatever you have available. Also clean the wound thoroughly. Thread your suture needle with your suture thread and tie a secure knot. Get ready because its gunna hurt like hell if you have no anesthetic.
Start Stitching- Suturing is just sewing your wound closed. You always want to start at the end of the wound that is closest to your face and work away. You want to pierce the skin as close to the wound as possible without getting too close as to tear the suture through the skin. You want to penetrate the skin at a 90 degree angle to minimize the puncture wounds caused by the needle. you want your sutures to be about as deep as the wound itself to make sure it is completely closed. Pushing the needle through the other side of your skin is not as easy as it sounds. Your skin is very malleable and will work against you. Sometimes it is necessary to stabilize the skin to get the needle through. Sterilized pliers work well for pulling the needle through once its exited the skin. You want to pull the suture thread all the way through gently so you minimize damage to the surrounding skin. Once you're done, both sides of the wound should be mirror images of each other...
Knot each suture- Once you've gotten your suture through, you want to tie a knot. The knot itself doesn't really matter as long as it will hold your stitches in. A square knot works fine. You want to tug on each suture to make sure they are tight and secure. You should tie each suture individually. If one falls out, your wound will still be closed for the most part if they are done this way. If not your entire stitch job will become loose and could potentially unravel and fall out.
Disinfect Again- After you are done, Make sure you clean the wound again.. You can never be to cautions when it comes to disinfectant. Be liberal and thorough. This is your best line of defense when it comes to infection.
Remove the sutures- So this is pretty simple. It shouldn't be painful. Don't take your stitches out until the wound is completely healed. Use sharp scissors to cut the stitches and gently pull them out. The only thing you need to remember here is to not pull the knot through the skin. You don't want to re-open or tear your skin after all this time. And as before, after your stitches are removed, you want to disinfect the area again.
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As Always... Thanks again, and be happy
- Joshua Powers