Extreme Situations: Suture And Stitch Wounds If It Saves Lives4 min read

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Can you imagine stitching and suture yourself if it saves a life? There may be situations when it is far to the nearest hospital. Injuries you can get anywhere and rarely is a doctor or nurse with. This is how to handle a wound injury far from the nearest help.


First of all, you should be well aware of what you do. Stitch a wound injury yourself without knowledge can make things much worse. Do this by yourself should be the last resort. I am not educated or in any way expert in this subject. See it as a advice in a life-critical emergency.

Suture = Stitch used to hold skin together

Rate the damage

Here comes the most important. You should not suture if the wound can be closed without surgical procedures. What should always be with you is sterile adhesive strips. Squeeze the opening on the wound and see if you can keep the skin in place. If so, tap and open and wash as soon as you get medical help.

If you do not have any sterile adhesive strips or surgical tape, then the next option is (medical) super glue. Regular super glue should not be used in the wound, but as an emergency solution, it is good to glue the skin together.

Avoid any common super glue and carry medical glue if you are far from helping. The medical is certainly more expensive but can handle fluid much better. Keep in mind, however, that glue is never stronger than stitches.

Suture on your own – Invasive procedure

When no tape or super glue clings together, only sewing remains. The risk of infection around the wound increases slightly. If you had a wound before, you will have several new ones for each stitch. A poorly sterilized needle can, therefore, cause catastrophic consequences.

Avoid to suture when?

Look at the wound. Is it wide open and the skin is missing around? If the sides are too far apart the stitches will be difficult to fix. Instead, leave the wound open, but “fill up” with a sterile compressor. This should then be exchanged several times a day to prevent bacterial growth.

Properly handled, the damage heals from the inside instead of suture, from the skin.

More examples of when you are not going to do stitches

  • The injury is dirty or infected.
  • The injury is already infected.
  • The injury is older than 8 hours.

Criteria for suture wounds when it comes to saving a life

  • The wound is clean.
  • The wound is not infected.
  • There is no dead or burned skin.
  • The wound is less than 8 hours old.
  • The wound is deep.
  • The wound is too wide to tape or paste.

The technique of suture wounds

The needle stitches should be as close as possible to the edges of the wound without affecting the stiffness of the stitches. When sewing together, do not squeeze the skin together, as the area of skin that occurs over the thumb and forefinger is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Instead, try to almost fold the edges of the wound.

Well done suture. Notice how the wake of the skin is – Nearly a little folded inwards.

An alternative to needle and thread is safety pins. It is a faster method but limited by the width of the wound.

Preparations before and during suture

  • Wet the area with sterile liquid.
  • Remove dirt.
  • Apply Betadine (should always be with you) in a circular motion inside and out.
  • Place a clean cloth over the area with an opening over the wound.
  • Sew stitches instead of long stitches. It saves thread and increases durability.
  • Use triangular needle tips if you have. They are much better for the skin.
  • Try to be two people (learn the Adson grip).

How to do a sterile saline solution

What is needed:

  • A bucket, stew etc.
  • A heat source.
  • 1 liter of water.
  • 2 teaspoons of salt.

Boil the water for 15 minutes. Pour the water into a sterile jar. Close it with a sterile lid.

Sustainability unopened: 1 month

Sustainability opened: 48 hours

When you read this you are no surgeon. But suture yourselft can at best save life on you or your companion when no other help is available.

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