What Does Spitting out a Suture Mean?

Quite a few gals have mentioned that their bodies have rejected a suture or two and as a result, their bodies have "spit" them out.

Doctor Answers 3

What's the Meaning of a "Spitting Suture"?

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Although modern stitch materials are much more body friendly than older materials (such as horse hair, cotton, silk, silver, steel etc), and are much better tolerated sometimes the body reacts with an inflammatory response to a stitch creating fluid around it. The pressure of the fluid then burrs a tunnel along the path of least resistance which is usually the scar overhead. The result? A pimple like eruptin which after draining off reveals the bunny ear like cut ends of a tied stitch. Once the spit, exposed stitch is removed the hole closes rapidly. Some stitches are usually more prone to spitting than others but no stitch is immune to this minor complication. 

Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Spitting sutures?

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The phrase "spitting sutures" refers to the concept that either permanent or absorbable sutures that are normally just under the skin poke through the skin and are palpable on the outside. Often these are the knots of sutures commonly first apparent at 2-3 weeks after the original procedure. If absorbable they often just pull out, or can be cut at their ends.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Spitting Sutures

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A spitting suture generally refers to a suture breaking through the surface of the skin.  As sutures dissolve under the surface of the skin, some people’s bodies can push parts of these sutures out of the body.  This generally happens a few weeks to a few months following surgery.  This can take the form of a small open wound or what looks like a large pimple that is often accompanied with a small amount of discharge.  This discharge can range in color from brown, green, yellow or blood tinged depending on the person and the type of suture.  This can either be removed in clinic or by the patient at home.  Usually once the suture is removed the discharge stops and the wound heals.  

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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.