10 Common Urgent Care Procedures

common urgent care procedures

Urgent care centers treat injuries that are time-sensitive but not life- or limb-threatening. You might seek treatment there if your primary care physician can’t fit you into their schedule or when their office is closed in the evening and on weekends. 

Urgent care teams are trained and equipped to handle a wide variety of medical issues. Ten of the most common urgent care procedures are:

1. Stitches

Urgent care professionals can treat minor lacerations. For example, if you cut yourself while slicing vegetables in your kitchen, and the wound is relatively deep, they can use sutures (i.e., stitches) to close it. They might also prescribe pain medication or antibiotics if appropriate. Some sutures dissolve, but others must be removed later.

2. X-rays

There are several reasons you might need an X-ray. Diagnosing potentially broken bones may be the first thing that comes to mind, but imaging can also help diagnose conditions such as constipation that’s become an urgent issue for you. 

3. Casts and splints

You’re playing volleyball at your company picnic and come down from a perfect spike only to land on an opponent’s foot and twist your ankle. The pain is intense and you wonder if you’ve broken a bone. An urgent care center can perform an X-ray to determine if that’s true. Based on the results, they can prescribe treatment, including splinting your ankle if it’s not broken or casting it if there’s a break. The doctor can also prescribe medication to address the pain and swelling.   

4. Immunizations (including flu and COVID-19)

Typically, your primary care physician will administer your immunizations. However, if you urgently need a vaccine — you’re soon taking an unexpected trip, for instance — and you can’t get in to see your doctor, an urgent care center can give you the shot. They’ll also explain any potential side effects and have you return if you experience something serious. 

5. Blood pressure check

If you think your blood pressure may be unusually high, you can visit an urgent care center to have them check it. You might also have them check it if you have hypertension and need to keep a close eye on your readings. If the urgent care team determines your blood pressure is concerningly high or trending upward during your visit, they can recommend treatment to bring it down. 

6. Skin lesion removal or skin grafts

Imagine you’re drying off after a shower and notice a spot on your skin you’ve never seen before. Urgent care professionals are qualified to remove skin tags, cysts, warts, and other skin lesions and perform skin grafts. After performing the procedure, they’ll advise you on how to care for the site and may prescribe medication if appropriate. 

7. Urinalysis and other lab tests

As part of diagnosing your medical condition, urgent care clinicians can test your urine, blood, and other specimens at their location. With many diseases, including sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), the sooner you start treatment, the better your outcome may be. Based on your results, the care team can determine the next steps. 

8. Inflammation and irritation issues

Skin inflammation or irritation may be caused by something minor or a symptom of a more significant medical condition. If you wake up on a weekend morning and notice something unusual, you can visit an urgent care clinic and get it checked. Based on their exam, the urgent care clinician can prescribe medication or other treatment if needed.  

9. Abscess I&D

Urgent care teams are qualified to perform incision and drainage (I&D) procedures on abscesses, which are painful, pus-filled lumps. They’ll likely then test the material to determine what additional actions if any, are needed. 

10. Wound repair

Urgent care teams can repair all types of wounds. For example, imagine your child falling off their bike at high speed and suffering a significant “road rash” on their arm and shoulder. The team can thoroughly clean the injured areas, apply topical antibiotic medication, and prescribe pain medication if appropriate. 

So, what procedures can an urgent care perform? The answer is that they can treat any issue that doesn’t put your life or limbs at risk. Hopefully, you’ll never need any urgent care procedures. But if a time-sensitive medical issue arises, it’s nice to know the centers are there. And the cost of an urgent care visit typically is much less than a trip to the emergency room.

Learn More About Common Urgent Care Procedures from Baptist Health

The list above includes just some of the most common procedures done in urgent care. If your primary care doctor is unavailable and you have an injury or illness that you think requires urgent attention but isn’t life- or limb-threatening, urgent care is the place for you. 

Baptist Health has multiple urgent care clinics in the area. Learn more

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