Laceration, Chin, Suture Or Tape

A laceration is a cut through the skin. If it is deep, it may require stitches. Minor cuts may be treated with surgical tape, skin glue, or other basic dressings.

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 sutures were used, clean the wound daily:

    • Wash the area with soap and water. Use 0.9% normal saline or tap water (if the water supply is sanitary) 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 doctor before applying any antibiotic ointment to the wound.

    • You may shower as usual after the first 24 hours, but do not soak the area in water (no tub baths or swimming) until the sutures or surgical tape is removed.

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

  • Most chin lacerations heal in five days with no problem. However, even with proper treatment, a wound infection sometimes occurs. Therefore, check the wound daily for the warning signs listed below. Stitches are usually not left in the face for more than 5 days; otherwise, permanent stitch marks may form. If surgical tape was used, you may remove the tape yourself after 5 days, unless told otherwise.

  • The doctor may prescribe or recommend an antibiotic cream or ointment to prevent infection. Do not stop taking this medication until you have finished the prescribed course or the doctor tells you to stop. The doctor may also prescribe medications for pain. Follow the doctor’s instructions for taking these medications. If you have chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or gastrointestinal bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.

  • Certain types of skin glues can't be used if you have an allergy to latex or formaldehyde. Tell your doctor right away about any allergies.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your health care provider. Most chin lacerations heal within five to seven days. However, even with proper treatment, a wound infection may sometimes occur. Therefore, 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 have not fallen off after 5 days.

When to seek medical care 

Get prompt medical attention if any of these occur:

  • Increasing pain in the wound

  • Redness, swelling, or pus coming from the wound

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

  • Bleeding not controlled by direct pressure

  • If the wound edges reopen

  • If sutures come apart or surgical tape falls off before 5 days