What Happens If You Don't Take Out Stitches?

click to play video

The average person suffers 124 minor injuries a year. That includes blisters, papercuts, bruises, electric shocks, biting the tongue, tripping, and other such nearly daily occurrences. This is according to a 2012 study in the UK by the Benenden Healthcare Society.

If you're anything like the average UK citizen, you're racking up more than 9,000 minor injuries over your lifespan, and you're probably going to need stitches at some point. If you've already crossed that threshold, you know you'll have a follow-up to get the stitches removed somewhere in the realm of four to 14 days later. As SciShow highlights in the new video above, there are good reasons for that.

SciShow highlights two reasons you need to get those stitches out. One sounds like a scene in a David Cronenberg film. If left in too long, your skin may grow around and over the stitches. Then a doctor would need to dig out the stitches, which sounds horrible. That can lead to infections, which, again, not good.

The second reason is cosmetic. If they're left in too long, scarring can occur.

There are other options besides traditional stitches, like absorbable stitches and glue (most often used on the face). However, for minor injuries that require stitches, you're most likely to wind up with the kind that needs to be removed. Next time someone tells you snitches get stitches, remind them that they also get their stitches removed to prevent scarring.

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Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He holds a Guinness World Record but has never met the fingernail lady. Follow him @dlukenelson.