13 doctors weighed in:
How long after getting an open wound cut do you have to get stitches?
13 doctors weighed in

Dr. Otto Placik
Surgery - Plastics
4 doctors agree
In brief: Optimally ASAP
It depends on the wound, conditions, degree of contamination, tissue loss, exposed tissues, etc.
It is best for a physician to make this determination. However clean body wounds are generally safe to close within 4-6 hours whereas clean facial wounds may be deferred for up to 24 hours. Dressing changes may extend this window. Some wounds are better left open to heal without stitches.

In brief: Optimally ASAP
It depends on the wound, conditions, degree of contamination, tissue loss, exposed tissues, etc.
It is best for a physician to make this determination. However clean body wounds are generally safe to close within 4-6 hours whereas clean facial wounds may be deferred for up to 24 hours. Dressing changes may extend this window. Some wounds are better left open to heal without stitches.
Dr. Otto Placik
Dr. Otto Placik
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Dr. Barry Press
Surgery - Plastics
3 doctors agree
In brief: Depends: many issues
Including the location of the wound, whether it is clean or dirty.
There used to be a "golden period" considered by many to be one hour when the wound could be closed safely without the risk of infection. That is not really true. Time is only one of the issues that determines the answer to your question. If you have a wound that might need professional care, go to an emergency room.

In brief: Depends: many issues
Including the location of the wound, whether it is clean or dirty.
There used to be a "golden period" considered by many to be one hour when the wound could be closed safely without the risk of infection. That is not really true. Time is only one of the issues that determines the answer to your question. If you have a wound that might need professional care, go to an emergency room.
Dr. Barry Press
Dr. Barry Press
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2 comments
Dr. Kristin Cox
Especially if there are signs/symptoms of infection such as redness, increased warmth, fever, chills, or purulence.
Dr. Martin Raff
Never close a wound unless it has been cleansed and there is no evidence for infection.
Dr. Steven Harris
Surgery - Plastics
1 doctor agrees
In brief: No firm rule
Obviously, the sooner the better! the dirtier the wound (human or animal bite, farm tool cut, cuts in lake water) may only be closable right away, if at all.
Cuts on areas with poorer circulation (feet, legs) also should only be closed promptly (4-6 hours), although a stitch or two to roughly "tack" it together may be possible later. Clean facial and hand lacerations can wait longer.

In brief: No firm rule
Obviously, the sooner the better! the dirtier the wound (human or animal bite, farm tool cut, cuts in lake water) may only be closable right away, if at all.
Cuts on areas with poorer circulation (feet, legs) also should only be closed promptly (4-6 hours), although a stitch or two to roughly "tack" it together may be possible later. Clean facial and hand lacerations can wait longer.
Dr. Steven Harris
Dr. Steven Harris
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Dr. Susan Kolb
Holistic Medicine
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Depends
Most wounds of the head and neck can be closed within 24 hours, the truck and extremities 6 hours.
But it also depends on if the wound is contaminated or not. If contaminated, less time is better.

In brief: Depends
Most wounds of the head and neck can be closed within 24 hours, the truck and extremities 6 hours.
But it also depends on if the wound is contaminated or not. If contaminated, less time is better.
Dr. Susan Kolb
Dr. Susan Kolb
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Dr. John Hoffmann
Surgery - Plastics
In brief: Depends where it is
In general, the sooner a wound is closed the better. However, areas like the face are more resistant to infection and can be repaired after some delay.
It also depends on what caused the wound- a sharp cut repair may sometimes be delayed whereas a blunt wound or crush should be repaired as soon as possible. Repair of hands and legs shouldn't be delayed.

In brief: Depends where it is
In general, the sooner a wound is closed the better. However, areas like the face are more resistant to infection and can be repaired after some delay.
It also depends on what caused the wound- a sharp cut repair may sometimes be delayed whereas a blunt wound or crush should be repaired as soon as possible. Repair of hands and legs shouldn't be delayed.
Dr. John Hoffmann
Dr. John Hoffmann
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Dr. Daniel Ziegler
Emergency Medicine
In brief: 6 to 12 hrs
The risk of developing infection in a wound that is sutured (stiched) begins to rise when the suture repair is delayed more than 6 hours and rises dramatically after 12 hours.
Most emergency physicians will not attempt to close a wound after 24 hrs unless the wound is very large or there are cosmetic issues such as with facial wounds.

In brief: 6 to 12 hrs
The risk of developing infection in a wound that is sutured (stiched) begins to rise when the suture repair is delayed more than 6 hours and rises dramatically after 12 hours.
Most emergency physicians will not attempt to close a wound after 24 hrs unless the wound is very large or there are cosmetic issues such as with facial wounds.
Dr. Daniel Ziegler
Dr. Daniel Ziegler
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Dr. Bret Boyle
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