Risk of Unstitched Torn Wounds

Not all lacerations can be treated alone. A deep tear with heavy bleeding is an example of a wound that needs to be treated by a doctor and may need stitches. The reason is, if the torn wound is not stitched, a number of serious and even life-threatening complications can occur.

Almost everyone has experienced a torn wound. Generally, lacerations occur as a result of falls, punctured or scratched by sharp objects, and traffic accidents.

Torn wounds sometimes do not need stitches and can be treated independently at home. However, if a serious tear occurs, you should seek medical attention immediately, especially if there is heavy bleeding or if the bleeding lasts more than 20 minutes.

In this case, the tear will need to be treated by a doctor and may need stitches to stop the bleeding and prevent a number of serious complications.

Criteria for torn wounds that need to be examined by a doctor

The following are some criteria for torn wounds that need to be examined by a doctor:

  • The depth of the wound is more than 1 cm
  • Bleeding does not stop with direct pressure on the wound
  • Bleeding lasts more than 20 minutes
  • Injuries occur as a result of a serious accident

Risk of Torn Wound Not stitched

The main risk of an unstitched wound is infection. Infected sores can be recognized by signs of green, yellow, or brown pus discharge with a foul odor, and sometimes accompanied by fever.

There are several types of serious and life-threatening infections that can result from unstitched wounds, including:


Tetanus can cause jaw and neck stiffness, seizures, and even death. This condition is caused by a bacterial infection Clostridium tetani. Usually, the symptoms of a tetanus infection appear 4–21 days after the wound is infected.

Necrotizing fasciitis

Necrotizing fasciitis is a severe infection of the soft tissues that can be caused by various types of bacteria, including: Clostridium and Streptococcus. If not treated promptly, this infection can lead to serious, life-threatening complications, such as sepsis and kidney failure.


Cellulitis is an infection of the skin that is not in direct contact with the wound. Generally, cellulitis is caused by a bacterial infection Streptococcus and Staphylococcus aureus. If not treated properly, cellulitis can lead to dangerous complications, such as:

  • Gangrene
  • lymphadenitis
  • Bone infection
  • bloodstream infection
  • Sepsis

In addition to infection, a torn wound that is left open without stitches is also at risk of failing to heal or the wound healing longer than it should. This can have an impact on the psychological condition of the patient. The patient may feel frustrated that the wound is not healing.

Whether or not the wound is sutured depends on the high and low risk of infection. The healing of a wound that is allowed to heal naturally is known as secondary wound healing.

Generally, a wound that is left open by a doctor and not stitched is a tear that is already infected or contains a foreign body or material that has the potential to infect. To treat it, the doctor will clean the wound with irrigation fluid and remove the dead tissue.

In essence, a torn wound is not a condition that can be left unattended, because it can lead to various dangerous complications. Therefore, if you experience a tear, whether large or small, you should consult a doctor. The doctor will determine the appropriate and safe treatment for your wound.

Written by:

dr. Sonny Seputra, M.Ked.Klin, Sp.B, FINACS

(Surgeon Specialist)