Chin Laceration, Stitches or Tape

A laceration is a cut through the skin. If it's deep, it may need stitches. Minor cuts may be treated with surgical tape, skin glue, or other basic dressings. You may need a tetanus shot if you are not up-to-date on your tetanus vaccine.

Home care

These guidelines will help as your laceration heals:

  • If a bandage was applied and it becomes wet or dirty, replace it. Otherwise, leave it in place for the first 24 hours, then change it once a day or as directed.

  • If stitches were used, clean the wound daily:

    • Wash the area with soap and water. Use water on a cotton swab to loosen and remove any blood or crust that forms.

    • After cleaning, keep the wound clean and dry. Talk with your healthcare provider before applying any antibiotic ointment to the wound.

    • You may shower as usual after the first 24 hours. But don't soak the area in water until the stitches are removed. This means no tub baths or swimming.

  • If surgical tape was used, keep the area clean and dry. If it becomes wet, blot it dry with a towel.

  • Your healthcare provider may prescribe or recommend an antibiotic cream or ointment to prevent infection. Don't stop taking this medicine until you have finished the prescribed course, or your provider tells you to stop. Your provider may also prescribe medicines for pain. Follow the provider’s instructions for taking these medicines. You may use over-the-counter pain medicine if no other pain medicine was prescribed. Talk with your provider before using these medicines if you have chronic liver or kidney disease. Also talk with your provider if you have ever had a stomach ulcer or gastrointestinal bleeding.

  • Certain types of skin glues can't be used if you have an allergy to latex or formaldehyde. Tell your healthcare provider right away about any allergies. The most common skin glues (acrylates) can sometimes cause a contact dermatitis (skin allergy) regardless of past allergies.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider as advised. Most chin lacerations heal in 5 to 7 days. But your wound may become infected even with correct treatment. You should check the wound daily for signs of infection listed below. Stitches should be removed from the chin within 5 days. If tape closures were used, remove them yourself if they haven't fallen off after 5 days.

When to get medical care

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Pain in the wound that gets worse

  • Redness, swelling, or pus coming from the wound

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as advised by your provider

  • Chills

  • Bleeding not controlled by direct pressure

  • Wound edges reopen

  • Stitches come apart or surgical tape falls off before 5 days

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