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 54

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
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Have an itch to remove a stitch?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Typically when plastic surgeons stitch up incisions, we stitch it up in at least 3 different layers. We use somewhat larger stitches for the deeper layers and smaller sutures for the more superficial layers. The stitches for the deep layer are usually deep enough where they don't get "spit" out by the body. The more superficial stitches are typically right under the surface of the skin and are within the layers of the skin which can be thin.

As a result, it can be quite common that these stitches begin to make their way to the surface and will extrude. This is nothing to worry about but I do understand how someone may see that and get concerned. I can also understand that it may be uncomfortable and unsightly and one would like to have it removed if possible.

I think you should make an appointment with your plastic surgeon, let him take a look at it, and then request that if he thinks no harm will come from removing the stitches that they be removed. I follow up with my patients pretty frequently after their surgery and if I see a stitch make its way to the surface I will remove it and then have them place a small amount of antibiotic ointment on the little hole until it heals.

I would advise that you not remove them yourself but if you decide to do so then just make sure everything you use is very clean and sterile and that you clean the area before removing the stitch. I hope this helps alleviate some of your concerns and I hope you are able to get this situation resolved.

Ankur Mehta MD

Ankur Mehta, MD
Sugar Land Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Dissolvable stitches poking through skin?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
If the suture ends are erupting through the skin, I have my patients come in so that I can pull it out because it can be irritating and upsetting for the patient.  This is not uncommon and generally not a problem unless they become infected.   If you see a knot and it is not fraying/falling apart when you pull on it, I would ask your surgeon or his/her staff to take care of it. 


Michelle Spring, MD, FACS
Glacier View Plastic Surgery

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.

Sean Younai, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 51 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

Don't Freak Out! Absorbable Stitches are Not a Problem.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Some absorbable sutures can be pushed to the surface by your immune system as they start to digest.  You can clip them, if easy, or your plastic surgeon can clip them.  They will not harm your result. 

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
4.3 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Suture spitting after tummy tuck

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

Suture spitting is not uncommon.  Sometimes sutures can find their way out of the incision and can be quite irritating to the patient.  The best way to deal with them is to see your plastic surgeon to have them removed.  When my patients complain of sutures sticking out, I try to take them out as soon as possible.

Lohith Bose, MD
Valparaiso General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Dissolving stitches should be left alone.

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

Hi Gail1962, This is not uncommon, there is nothing to be freaked out by so please do not worry. They will not leave "holes". If you are bothered by them you should tell you surgeon and have them remove them for you. I am always concerned when I see so many of these questions being posed to RealSelf that should be posed to your personal physician. It commonly is because the patient just doesn't want to follow the protocols given and is seeking approval elsewhere. Please speak to them and come to an understanding of what is the best approach. Your results and best interest is what they are looking out for, so it's very important to explicitly follow the instructions of YOUR surgeon. 

William Aiello, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Spitting stitches after tummy tuck

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

What you are experiencing, while it can be somewhat alarming, is extremely common, not serious, and easily remedied.  The tummy tuck incision is often closed with a series of buried, dissolvable stitches, each of which has a small knot.  It's very common for your body to have some difficulty breaking down these knots, and for it to push them out of the incision.  They are easily removed in the office, with minimal discomfort and likely no consequence in the healing of the incision or the final appearance of the scar.  I'd recommend scheduling an appointment with your surgeon to have this issue taken care of.

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.