How to Stitch a Wound

A few tips from Dr. Luanne Freer, founder of the Everest Base Camp Medical Clinic.

(Sophy R. via Shutterstock)

1. Attempt only if evacuation isn't an option. If you screw up, you could cause permanent tissue damage and a nasty infection.

A closer look.

2. Irrigate the wound with boiled water—you can use a plastic bag with a hole poked in it—and then scrub with soap.

3. Sterilize your needle and thread.

4. Start stitching (see sidebar image). You generally want the stitches spaced a quarter-inch from each other and from the skin edges, which should just barely touch. (The skin shouldn't pucker.)

5. Tie the suture with a surgeon's knot off to the side so it doesn't touch the wound.

6. Treat with antibacterial ointment and cover with a clean bandage.

Stitching a wound can be an effective last-ditch measure. But can you separate other cases of survival fact from fiction? Take our survival quiz to find out.

Filed To: First Aid
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