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 116

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.

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.

David Freilich, MD
Englewood Oculoplastic Surgeon

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 34 reviews

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 16 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
4.6 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

How Long Until Plastic Surgery Stitches Dissolve?

These sutures usually dissolve in about a week, occasionally up to 10 days. You actually don't want to accelerate the process but can apply some ointment prescribed your doctor if they are tight and bothering you.

Richard Zienowicz, MD
Providence Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Sutures for blepharoplasty

dissolvable sutures that are used for skin closure usually take 7-10 days to dissolve. If there are some that do not dissolve, they can be removed. Topical ointment that is usually prescribed after surgery will help move things along. 

Flora Levin, MD FACS
Westport Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Dissolving sutures

Dissolving sutures usually take 5-14 days to dissolve, depending on the sutures. I would ask your surgeon what his expecations are. Longer to dissolve sutures are typically not used on the eyelid skin for optimal scar. If you feel you are having a reaction to the sutures, or it is taking a while to dissolve, your surgeon may be able to remove the remaining sutures.

Malena Amato, MD
Austin Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Stitches for Eyelid Surgery Are Removed After One Week

In my practice, I do not use dissolvable stitches. I remove stitches for eyelid surgery after one week. If you are concerned that your stitches are not dissolving, you should call your surgeon. I hope this help

Eyelid sutures

 Thank you for your question. Nonabsorbable stitches will need to be removed. I like to put these type of stitches because they are not as reactive and the stitch material doesn't stay on the body. I remove the stitches in five days. Occasionally I put a dissolvable stitch, which will eventually dissolves in one week. If you have some stitches that are irritating you perhaps your physician could remove them. In general the eyelid only takes about 5 to 7 days to heal properly. Good luck!

Kailash Narasimhan, MD
Sherman Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 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.