It looks intense to you – but is your wound bad enough to go get stitches? It depends on certain factors and the severity of the wound, but it’s always worth seeing a doctor to get their professional medical opinion.

Verywell Health highlighted two primary reasons for patients to get stitches: closing wounds and reducing scarring. The former is especially important to promote faster healing and prevent infection, as open wounds are far more vulnerable to bacteria and other causes of complications.

Keep these factors in mind when determining if your wound needs stitches to facilitate healing:

stitchesFactors like size and location indicate when wounds require stitches for proper healing.

Size

How big is your cut, scrape or tear? The size of your wound may determine the chances of it closing on its own, as small wounds can often heal without stitches. However, Immediate Clinic advised seeing a medical professional when you have a cut that’s any longer than one inch.

Depth

The depth of the wound is also an indicator of whether you’ll need stitches. Of course, if the wound is so deep that you can see fatty tissue, muscle or bone, it’s severe enough to need medical attention and your doctor will likely recommend stitches. In general, Healthline estimated that wounds deeper than half an inch will require stitches.

Location

If the wound is located in an area of the body that stretches or moves frequently, such as joint, it will likely need stitches to prevent the wound from constantly reopening with natural movement. Healthline also noted that without proper care, wounds in these areas can potentially damage ligaments or tendons.

Bleeding

If you can’t stop the bleeding after applying pressure for several minutes, the wound will require medical attention. No matter the size, depth or location of the wound, excessive bleeding is typically a sign that stitches are necessary.

Cause

This is an especially important factor to consider for puncture wounds. According to Healthline, wounds caused by animal bites or dirty objects can be at a higher risk for rabies or infection. In these cases, patients may need a tetanus booster and antibiotics along with stitches.

While stitches can work wonders for healing, you’ll need to take proper care of the wound to continue on the road to recovery. Talk to your doctor about smartPAC by Advanced Tissue for smart delivery of the wound care products your treatment requires.