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.
Update Date 1/12/2015
Updated by: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.