Stitches are primarily used if the cut is more that a quarter inch deep, is on the face, or reaches bone. Stitches help hold the wound together so it can heal properly. Stitches are removed between 3 to 14 days after they are put depending upon which area of the body was injured. Stitches on the face can be removed within 3 to 5 days but areas of high stress such as hands, elbows, and knees must stay in 10 to 14 days.
Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.