Ask a doctor

How Long Should I Leave my Dissolvable Stitch Alone?

My dissolvable stitches are starting to pop out, I have two so far. One has been exposed about 2 weeks now and PS said to just let it be. Now I have another one. It is white and pretty strong. I dont think I can pull it as it seems to have two ends sticking out so I assume its in a knot. Can these stitches leave holes? Should I insist that my PS remove them? Im sure I will start having others pop out. They are freaking me out. I am 4 weeks Tummy Tuck post op

Doctor Answers (21)

Spitting Dissolvable Sutures Can Be Removed


There should not be a problem with you trimming or removing one or more of your dissolvable stitches which have spit.  This happens not infrequently, especially when the knots of sutures have been placed very close to the skin.  The sutures are obviously not holding tissue together if they have spit out.

Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Call your ps

I doubt you got your surgery for free, thus your doctor works for you. Go see him, let him remove the stitches and answer your question. It should be included in the fee he charged you.

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Remove spitting sutures


Spitting sutures can make for poor scars if left sticking through the skin.  The wound was  closed in several layers and it should not be a problem to remove the sutures that are poking through the skin after a few weeks.  If you are "freaked out" I would recommend you have your surgeon remove them.  If he won't ( I don't know why he would refuse)  then cleanse your skin with an antibacterial soap like Dial or Lever, wipe with peroixide and have someone remove the sutures with small scissors that have also been cleansed.  Where you see two ends pull up on one of them and cut one side only below the knot. Apply an antibiotic ointment and small bandage for a day or two. 

Lori H. Saltz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

You might also like...

Disolvable sutures from a tummy tuck


It is very common for dissolvable sutures to work their way up to the skin and to start to come out! sometimes they cause inflammation points, similar to a pimple, at the site of exit. I recommend patients to jut cut the exposed part of the suture.

S. Sean Younai, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Dissolvable sutures protruding through skin


This is called suture spitting and is caused by deep sutures placed close to the skin or a localized reaction preventing the sutures from dissolving, therefore making them rise to the surface. 

These can be easily fixed by your plastic surgeon.   Generally speaking, if they are protruding beyond the skin edges I remove them.  If they are visible but not sticking out, I try to leave them as I do not want to create a hole by tugging on the suture.

I hope this helps.

Dr. GIll

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Dissolvable sutures spitting


What you have are "spitting sutures" that can make their way to the surface. Usually by 3-4 weeks these sutures can be cut short or removed.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Stiches after tummy tuck


Don't worry, there is no reason to "freak out" since this is a common event after a tummy tuck with absorbable sutures. In most cases, the sites of the sutures heal fine. If this really bothers you, it is OK to ask your surgeon if they can be removed in the office.

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Cut them out

Spitting dissolvable sutures can occur with the tummy tuck.  Typically, we cut them out since the wound will not heal if they are left in place.  It is best for the plastic surgeon to remove them, since the knot needs to be cut.  Trimming the ends will not be enough.

Gary Lawton, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

When to remove dissolving stitches?

If any dissolving stitches work their way to the surface, I prefer to remove them within a few days.  It will speed the healing process.  

David Stoker, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Once the Wound has Reached its Maximal Strength the Suture Dissolves


                  When plastic surgeons perform abdominoplasty surgery it’s not unusual for them to use absorbable sutures.  These sutures are chosen for both their biologic and mechanical characteristics.  The ideal suture is strong enough and last long enough to prevent spread of the scar.  Once the wound has reached its maximal strength the ideal suture dissolves and disappears. 

                  Unfortunately, the body recognizes this foreign material and occasionally works it to the surface before it can dissolve.  Under these circumstances, the stitch is no longer performing its function and can cause complications such as infection.  For this reason, sutures should be removed whenever they break through the skin. 

                  When this situation occurs it’s important to consult your surgeon.  Your surgeon should be able to remove these sutures without difficulty.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.