How Long Until Plastic Surgery Stitches Dissolve?

I had upper eyelid surgery 8 days ago, and the doctor used dissolvable stitches. How long does it normally take for stitches to dissolve? Is there anything I can do to make them dissolve faster?

Doctor Answers 121

Dissolving sutures and eyelid surgery

Usually when dissolvable sutures are used in eyelid surgery they dissolve within 7-10 days.  If they do not dissolve you should return to your surgeon to have them removed.

Englewood Oculoplastic Surgeon

Blepharoplasty dissolving sutures.

It depends on what you had done, the suture that the surgeon used, and where he/she put it.  Dissolvable sutures can range in their time to finally go away, (i.e.; rapid absorbing cat gut, vs. monocryl).  Most will take out external sutures before 7 to 10 days to avoid extra scarring.  Usually it is not a good idea to "make" them dissolve faster.  They are most likely there for a reason.  If you have questions, please call your surgeon.  They usually have a reason for selection of type of suture and placement.  Ask what the plan is, and then please stick to it...

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Dissolving Stitches for Eyelid Surgery

We have different stitches that dissolve at different times: some will dissolve in 3-5 days, others can take weeks or months!

The dissolving stitches on the surface that you can see will generally dissolve between 3-7 days.

The stitches "dissolve" as a result of your body's reaction to the stitch material. Soaking them in water, for example, won't make them "dissolve" any faster.

Because your surgeon does want them in for a particular time period, check with him/her before doing something to remove them on your own.

If the stitches are hanging around too long, go into your surgeon's office to have them removed.

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Dissolving sutures in blepharoplasty

Depending on the suture, dissolving sutures may take anywhere from 5 days to 14 days to dissolve.  Warm soaks and topical ointments may speed this process.  To achieve the best scar appearance, non dissolving sutures should be run just under the skin from one end of the incision to the other.  The suture ends are taped in place and after 3-5 days the suture is easily removed by sliding it out in the office.  This leaves no "track" marks on the skin which external sutures can and since the suture is non dissolving there is no reaction from your body to the stitch and hence a better scar appearance.

Jeffrey M. Darrow, MD
Boston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 99 reviews

Dissolving Sutures And Blepharoplasty

If your surgeon used a fast absorbing gut suture, it should dissolve within 7-10 days. In many cases the body digests the suture material under the skin before the visible portion of the suture thread actually falls off. Therefore, you may still see some suture material on the skin at 10 days or so. Keeping the incisions moisturized with ointment (preferably an eye antibiotic ointment) will help speed this process up. One of the worst things you can do is to allow the incision to scab or dry out. This can lead to worsening scar formation and slow the recovery considerably.

John M. Hilinski, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Eyelid sutures dissolve in about 5 to 14 days

For eyelid surgeries, some doctors use prolene sutures, which are non-absorbing. These need to be removed manually by your doctor on the 5- 7th day. As for sutures that dissolve, these are often used for upper eyelid surgery like yours. They usually go in about 2 weeks or 5 to 14 days, depending on what material was used. Normally, the strength of the suture wears down in the 5th day and goes away entirely in day 7 to day 14. Some dissolve entirely in day 5.

Take note that these fall out on their own. But if after a couple of weeks, you do not see them falling off or being absorbed, you may want to give your doctor a visit so he can check them and possibly remove them if necessary.

Robert W. Sheffield, MD
Santa Barbara Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Dissolvable sutures

There is some variability as to how long it takes for sutures to fully dissolve. It generally takes 7-10 days.  But for certain types of suture it may take longer.  If the sutures are still present after 7-10 days you can consider having your surgeon remove them.  

Hope that helps and good luck.

Robert Deeb, MD
Grosse Pointe Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Dissolving upper eyelid sutures - 8-10 days

Hello! Usually I use non-absorbing prolene sutures in the upper eyelid and remove them on day 7. But if your doctor chose to use the dissolving kind, they usually are totally gone in 2 weeks. Make sure he can see them, because if they arent dissolving he may want to remove them at some point (even though they are supposed to fall out on their own).

Talk to your doctor first, but after 12 days if they are still there you can gently clean the area w peroxide and they will disapear :)

Good luck!

Kapil Saigal, MD, FACS
Winter Park Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Stitches and plastic surgery

For upper eyelid surgery, most surgeons use non-dissolving sutures since this usually heals better in the area with less reaction to the suture material. The eyelid incision, however, heals very well and dissolvable sutures usually take anywhere from 5-14 days depending on the material used.

Steven H. Dayan, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

It dependes

Most surgeons that use absorbable sutures for eyelid surgery are using a fast absorbing suture that should be gone in 7-10 days. It loses most of the strength around day 5 which is good timing.

I typically use a combination of absorbable and permanent sutures (that I remove on day 5-7). I do this becasue in my experience with the frequent movement of the eyes sometimes the lateral most part of the incision is under more tension than the middle most part. We all have our own tricks of the trade.

Hope this helps.

Best of luck,


Benjamin Caughlin, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 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.