When Should Breast Augmentation Sutures Be Removed?

My crease incision from breast augmentation will be closed with external nylon sutures. I have heard different stories as to the timing of suture removal. Is 3 weeks too long for the nylon suture to be left in place? Will my skin grow over the sutures? What are some of the possible complications with these types of sutures left in place for that long? Your insights will be appreciated. Thanks very much.

Doctor Answers (22)

Balancing the risks and benefits

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Typically we remove sutures at one week.  The longer external sutures stay in, the more likely they are to leave permanent marks.  The earlier they are removed the higher the risk of the wound opening.  This is a balance for every surgery.

Removable sutures and the timing for removal

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Removable sutures need to be removed relatively soon after placement to minimize noticeable scarring, but the exact timing depends upon what other measures have been used to support the wound. If other dissolving sutures are placed under the Nylon sutures, then the Nylon can be removed earlier with little risk of wound disruption.

Ask your surgeon as the exact timing depends upon the technique he or she used.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Suture Removal After Breast Augmentation

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The decision in using dissolvable sutures vs non-dissolvable sutures is dependent on the preference of the surgeon.

Dissolvable sutures will last longer to maintain the integrity of the wound edges. However, if they are placed superficially at the skin edge, they may dissolve too quickly and lead to the small suture abscess/infection.

These little suture abscesses can lead to a noticeable scar. Thus, some surgeons will use non-dissolvable sutures on the superficial skin closure.

In general, most sutures that are non-dissolvable should be removed in 5-7 days.

T.Y. Steven Ip, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Suture removal after breast augmentation

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Thanks for your question -

Each surgeon may use different techniques to close incisions after breast augmentation. In our San Francisco area practice we do not use sutures that need to be removed.

When thinking about permanent sutures (like nylon or prolene) sometimes leaving these sutures in for more than a week can leave "track marks" along the incision. This can be avoided when using these types of suture by varying the placement of the suture, for example placing the suture with a "running subcuticular" where the suture ends exit the ends of the wound only avoids the potential scar issues of a traditional "baseball" stitch.

I hope this helps.

Breast augmentation suture removal

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Leaving sutures in place for too long can lead to additional scarring.

Factors determining the timing of suture removal depend on the type of skin closure.

1. If there is individual sutures going across the incision, they usually have to be removed within 5-7 days. Otherwise they can cause residual/permanent marks in the skin after they are removed.

2. If you have a removable sub-cuticular closure (in which case you can only see the suture at the ends of your incision), then they can be removed up to 2 weeks after surgery with no problem.

3. If you have a absorbable sub-cuticular closure (no stitches are visible), then you never have to have the sutures removed and they will go away on their own over a period of several weeks.

The most common approaches are # 2 and #3. However, if performed properly, all approaches can yield a good result.

I hope you find this information helpful.

Good luck with your procedure.

A. Peter Salas, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
3.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Leaving nylon stitch in for 3 weeks depends on technique.

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This is perfectly acceptable depending on the technique used to place the nylon sutures. In many cases the stitch runs beneath the surface and comes through the skin only at the beginning and end of the incision (subcuticular). Leaving it in for 3 weeks tends to keep the wound from spreading wide during the most active part of the healing process.

If howeever, individual stitches are placed, then generally, you would want to have them removed prior to 3 weeks to avoid stitch marks.

Some surgeons actually bury a permanent stitch (polypropylene) beneath the surface for 6 months prior to removing it .

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Removing Sutures

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I usually use sutures that are dissolvable, so there is usually nothing to remove. For nylon sutures that don't dissolve, you will probably have to get them removed within a week or two, although it depends on where the incision is. You should express your concerns with your surgeon to find out why they suggested three weeks.

Nylon sutures

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I use dissolvable sutures for breast augmentation. Permanent sutures (such as nylon) should generally be removed at one week to avoid scarring related to the suture, but the exact timing depends on a number of factors. Best to ask your surgeon about this (and examine his or her post op photos to make sure the scarring is to your liking).

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Suture Removal Following Breast Augmentation

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         The timing of suture removal is dependent upon several variables. These include the type of suture material used, the technique used and how the wound is healing.

         Not all sutures require removal and plastic surgeons frequently use absorbable sutures which dissolve on their own. Your surgeon has chosen non-absorbable nylon sutures which eventually require removal. The timing of removal depends on the surgeons technique and how the wound is healing.

         When interupted nylon sutures are used, they’re removed in about a week to avoid cross hatching of the scars. When a subcuticuler technique is used, the sutures are partially buried and can therefore be left in place for up to three weeks.

Check with your surgeon

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Thank you for your question.

Three weeks is too long to leave the sutures in place. They should generally be removed within five to ten days. If the sutures are left in too long, this could cause the scar to heal unevenly.

Most surgeons use dissovable sutures, but removable sutures are also okay. Usually, the outside sutures are removed within a few days. Make sure that you speak with your board certified plastic surgeon to avoid any possible compllications.

Have a great day!

Sam Speron, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

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.