Does a NJ dog bite victim need sutures or stitches? Many might be surprised to know that not all dog bite wounds require medical stitches. In fact, in some cases, suturing may do more harm than good. It is up to the doctor to determine whether or not the injury calls for sutures, but in general, it depends on the type of dog bite injury and if there is a risk of infection.
Your physician may recommend stitching if the dog bite wound:
- Is deep with jagged edges
- Gapes open
- Goes down to the fat, muscle, bone, or other deep tissues
- Continues to bleed after 15 minutes of direct pressure
- Is on the face, lips, or any area where scarring may be a concern. (Sutures may decrease the unpleasant look of bite scars.)
On the other hand, don’t worry if your doctor chooses not to suture your dog bite. While it is true that the longer a wound stays open, the greater the risk of infection, suturing may also increase that risk. This is because bacteria could cluster and fester in that one isolated area of the body. A dog bite on the hand or foot, for example, may be left without stitches because these are areas with a high risk of infection.
Your physician may instead close the wound with a skin adhesive, or if the wound can heal on its own, the doctor may only prescribe antibiotics to prevent infections.
Overall, there is no medical consensus yet on when dog bite stitches are necessary. However, GP doctors and ER physicians are qualified to make this decision for every dog bite case. Do not delay calling a doctor, even if your bite wound looks minor.
Keep in mind that apart from suturing, there are other medical procedures that the doctor may recommend for a significant dog bite wound. If the bite is particularly deep, anesthesia may be needed so the physician can examine the wound further. A large bite may also require skin grafting or even nerve grafting surgeries. Many dog bite cases actually rack up medical costs amounting to thousands of dollars.
Monetary compensation is possible if you got bitten and seriously injured by a dog due to its owner’s or handler’s negligence. New Jersey is one of the states with strict laws regarding dog owner liability. Talk to us at The Grossman Law Firm by calling (732) 625-9494 to see how you may be compensated for your dog bite injury.