How to Stitch a Wound
A few tips from Dr. Luanne Freer, founder of the Everest Base Camp Medical Clinic.
- Attempt only if evacuation isn't an option. If you screw up, you could cause permanent tissue damage and a nasty infection.
- Irrigate the wound with boiled water—you can use a plastic bag with a hole poked in it—and then scrub with soap.
- Sterilize your needle and thread.
- 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.)
- Tie the suture with a surgeon's knot off to the side so it doesn't touch the wound.
- Treat with antibacterial ointment and cover with a clean bandage.