First aid kits contain a wide variety of medical components used to treat minor wounds. Some comprehensive first aid kits may contain surgical kits known as suture kits. Suture kits are used to quickly stitch wounds in an emergency.
Suture kits are composed of various instruments for stitching wounds. Scalpels are typically included in suture kits. These help remove debris from open wounds and make precise cuts around jagged flesh. Probes and forceps are also sometimes included for both of these purposes.
A good pair of scissors is an important surgical suture instrument. When wounds are jagged, skin will have to be cut in order to create straight lines to stitch together. Scissors are also necessary in cutting the suture threads themselves, depending on what type they might be.
Both non-absorbable and absorbable sutures may be included in suture kits. Smaller skin lacerations can be treated with non-absorbable sutures, which are made with polymer thread. Absorbable sutures are best used for deep tissue wounds that require a lengthier stay on the body.
Absorbable sutures are made from animal intestines or other absorbable materials. They can break down and be absorbed over time, allowing for maximum healing. This prevents the wounds from having to be re-opened, causing further risk for infection. Use of absorbable sutures is also more conducive for bone repair and vascular healing.
Hemostats are usually included in suture kits. A hemostat, or hemostatic clamp, joins two edges together. This ensures the most precise stitch possible when providing wound care. Bandages and antiseptic are usually included in a suture kit as well. These are to help prevent infection, keep wounds clean, and secure body parts in place.
Prior to use, all suture kit instruments should be sterilized with alcohol. They may also be sterilized by boiling them in water. Unsterilized instruments should not come into contact with open wounds. Once fully sterilized, suture kits can be kept in a general first aid kit as well as with camping gear, in the car, and with any emergency kits kept in the home.
Wounds should be fully cleaned and free of debris prior to being sutured. People with little to no surgical knowledge should refrain from using suture kits unless the situation is an absolute emergency. Improper stitching can lead to complications such as infection and severe scaring. In order to be properly prepared for an emergency, first aid courses including basic suture methods are available to the general public.