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Ask Buck

To stitch or not to stitch?

What's the best way to close an open wound?

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Question:

I have a whole lot of birthday candles on my cake and have seen many major changes in the way cuts are handled. It used to be common practice to get out the needle and thread and just sew them up. I don’t recall ever seeing any real issues with this?

Submitted by – Mike, Meeker, Colorado

Answer:

When you look at the big picture, the rate of infection for wounds closed with needle and thread is high when the closure takes place outside of a relatively sterile environment. The chance for a favorable outcome—that is, no infection, quick healing, minimal scarring—is much better if you clean a wound as best you can and pull it shut with closure strips or thin strips of tape. Or if you’re tape-less, clean the wound well, bind it shut as best you can, and find a doctor for final closure. —Buck