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 (26)

Call your ps

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
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.


New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Spitting Dissolvable Sutures Can Be Removed

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

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.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Remove spitting sutures

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

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 12 reviews

Spitting stitches following tummy tuck

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
You should definitely consult your surgeon.  I would not advise you to trim, cut or remove any stitches on your own.  

Christopher J. Morea, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Disolvable sutures from a tummy tuck

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

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 33 reviews

Dissolvable sutures protruding through skin

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

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 47 reviews

Dissolvable sutures spitting

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

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 18 reviews

Stiches after tummy tuck

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

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 24 reviews

You can ask your surgeon for help

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Spitting sutures, or sutures that have become visible or poked out through the skin, can end up leaving scars behind if not treated properly. Although many people do remove them on their own by snipping the knot free with sterilized scissors, there’s no reason you shouldn’t feel like you can’t call your surgeon to have them removed in the office instead, especially since they’ve now reached the point where you’re concerned by their appearance. Try calling your surgeon again and explaining that you feel uncomfortable with your sutures’ appearance and position and schedule an appointment for him to check your incision.

Dissolvable stitches

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Dissolvable stitches are commonly used near the skin surface. Your experience of having a few stitches pop through and become exposed is not unusual. At 4 weeks postoperatively, those stitches can usually be safely removed without affecting the outcome of your operation.

Rachel Streu, MD
Ann Arbor Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 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.