If you had stitches (sutures) to close a wound, please follow these instructions to help your wound heal.

  • Keep your wound clean and dry.
  • Leave the dressing in place until the stitches are removed, unless your doctor has told you otherwise.
  • If the dressing gets wet or dirty, you can remove and replace it with a clean, dry dressing or plaster.
  • If the wound is on your face or head, you will not have a dressing. It is best to leave this type of wound open to the air.

Having stitches removed

Your doctor tells you when to have your stitches removed. You probably need to make an appointment with a nurse at your GP surgery.

Pain relief

You can buy regular painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, from a pharmacy or shop. They should be enough to relieve your pain if you take them regularly by following the instructions on the packet.

It is important to check that the painkillers do not react with any other medicine you take. Ask your pharmacist if you are unsure.

See your GP if there are signs of infection, such as:

  • your wound becomes red or swollen
  • your wound becomes very painful
  • your wound opens or the stitches fall out too early
  • there is pus (a thick, yellow liquid) or blood coming from your wound

Resource number: 0919
Last reviewed: February 2019
Currently under review

Contact us

If you have any questions about your stitches that cannot wait until an appointment with a GP, contact NHS 111 for advice.

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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