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How Long Does It Take for Dissolvable Stitches to Dissolve?

I had an accessory nipple removed 3 weeks ago & the dissolvable stitches at the beginning & end of the incision are still there. All of the others have dissolved & I am starting to worry why the others haven't after 3 weeks. Why haven't they dissolved yet? How long does it take for them to dissolve? I don't know what to do & am not sure if i can start using scar cream on it because there are stitches still there.

Doctor Answers (2)

Dissolveable sutures: how long for absorption

+1

There are several different types of sutures and absorption varies depending on the material and can range from 5 days to 6 months. Ask you surgeon which type of suture was used and you will better understand the process.


Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Persistent Dissolving Stitches

+1

"I had an accessory nipple removed 3 weeks ago & the dissolvable stitches at the beginning & end of the incision are still there. All of the others have dissolved & I am starting to worry why the others haven't after 3 weeks. Why haven't they dissolved yet?"

Support is needed as a wound heals and scar tissue is created to glue the edges together . In some areas of the body (heart valves, artificial blood vessels, hernia repairs  etc) we want the support to be permanent and commonly use permanent sutures (Prolene, Goretex etc). In other applications we use long-dissolving stitches to support the scar adhesion and healing.  When it comes to skin closure, except for specific areas, the use of dissolving stitches to close the skin is not uniformly accepted. While using such stitches avoids a visit to the doctor because the stitches usually fall off by themselves the problem is, as you obviously experienced, they do not always fall off and worry the patient. But worse yet, ANY skin stitch that has been in place for more than 5 days is associated with a permanent scar dot along the scar - surgeon refer to that pattern as Rail Roading. If the objective is to create the least conspicuous scar possible, all the stitching should be on the inside with No stitches on the outside. If outside stitches are placed they need to be gone by 5 days.

In your case 3 weeks is obviously excessive. These stitches should be removed. You may want to visit your surgeon.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

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