Can you get stitches at an urgent care?

Medical provider holding suture thread and clips

Why Your Next Stitches Should Come from an Urgent Care Doctor: Prompt Care, Convenience, and Quality Treatment

When the time comes that you or a loved one is faced with a deep cut or laceration, seeking prompt medical attention at a local urgent care can help ensure the prevention of infections and promote proper healing.

Historically, emergency rooms have been the go-to option for stitches, or sutures, but today more and more people are discovering that urgent care facilities are a better option. Urgent care facilities offer several advantages like shorter wait times, cost-effective treatments, and a high level of quality care.

Urgent care centers should be a preferred option for non-life-threatening injuries, in part, because patients seeking medical help can see a doctor online first with a virtual visit. This is especially helpful in determining if a cut warrants stitches.

Before taking a closer look at the specific benefits of going to an urgent care for stitches, we should answer this often-asked question:

How Do I Know if This Cut or Wound Needs Stitches?

Listed here are the telltale signs that indicate the necessity for sutures, or stitches, so that you can make an informed decision while tending to your wound.

  • Size and Depth: The first critical factor to consider is the size and depth of the wound. As a rule, cuts deeper than 0.25 inches (6 mm) or longer than 1 inch (2.5 cm) need medical attention. These dimensions indicate that essential tissues, such as muscles, may have been compromised, necessitating professional evaluation and potential suturing.
  • Gaping of the Wound: If a cut exhibits a significant gap where the edges cannot be easily pressed together, it is likely that stitches will be required. Stitches play a pivotal role in closing the wound tightly, promoting optimal healing, and reducing the likelihood of infection.
  • Bleeding Severity: If a wound continues to bleed profusely even after applying direct pressure for 10-15 minutes, it’s indicative of a potential need for stitches.
  • Location of the Cut: Areas where movement is common, such as joints or the face, warrant special attention. Open wounds in such regions prolong the healing process and may result in impaired mobility or cosmetic concerns. Seeking medical advice to assess the need for stitches in these cases is strongly recommended.
  • Presence of Foreign Objects: The presence of foreign objects or debris increases the risk of infection and other complications. Qualified medical professionals possess the expertise to access such situations while ensuring thorough wound cleaning and appropriate suturing if needed.

Kid with stitches in chin

Why Choosing Urgent Care for Stitches Is a Smart Choice

Prompt Care and Shorter Wait Times

Unlike emergency rooms, which prioritize severe or life-threatening cases, urgent care centers focus on providing immediate care for non-emergency injuries. Typically, urgent care facilities have shorter wait times, allowing you to receive necessary stitches without enduring long hours in a waiting room.

Convenient Location and Extended Hours

Whether your urgent care facility is situated near your workplace, a busy shopping area, or closer to home, urgent care centers are usually strategically positioned to cater to the diverse needs of their communities. This accessibility makes them a convenient option for seeking stitches, or other medical services, at any time.

Lower Cost and Insurance Coverage

Another significant advantage of visiting an urgent care center for stitches is the associated cost savings1 when compared to emergency room visits. Emergency rooms are known for their higher costs, fueled by the need to handle life-threatening situations and extensive resources. Urgent care centers offer a more affordable alternative for non-emergency injuries, typically charging a fraction of the cost. Many insurance plans cover urgent care visits.

If you find yourself with a cut or laceration that requires stitches, an urgent care center can provide several significant benefits when compared to emergency room visits. Enjoying prompt care, convenience, and comparable quality of care, choosing an urgent care facility allows you to prioritize your health efficiently without the drawbacks of long wait times and high costs associated with emergency rooms.

1. Research Suggests Urgent Care Centers Reduce Health Care Costs by Providing Alternative to Emergency Department

You can complete an urgent care virtual visit in as fast as five to 15 minutes without leaving your home.

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