Is This a Suture Abscess? Or Infection? (photo)

Im 4 weeks post FTT. I went to see my doctor last week because I notice that a small part of my incision was open and red and had a bit of pus, and a stitch was coming out and it was hurting a lot. The Dr. said it was normal and not to put anything on it. and he will see me in a week. I have an appointmet this coming thursday but I wanted to get a 2nd opinion. I'm starting to get worried cause a week has passed and it is still the same. Something else my Dr says I don't have to wear a girdle.

Doctor Answers 2

Stitch Absess Is Not An Infaction - It Is An Inflammation

I agree with Dr. Gottlieb.  It appears that what is coming out in your suture line is an Insorb staple.  Many plastic surgeons, myself included, use Insorb to hold wounds together.  These are dissolvable staples which sometimes fail to dissolve and have to be removed after surgery.  When stitches or dissolvable staples come to the surface (technically known as spitting), they bring with them the white blood cells that are attempting to dissolve them.  The dissolving suture or staple plus the white blood cells lead to sterile pus and redness (inflammation).  I say sterile pus because all the elements of pus are there, but no bacteria. 

Each surgeon has his or her own technique for dealing with stitch or staple absesses.  Your suture line opening will ultimately heal.  With reference to the girdle, I have my patients stop wearing the girdle at 2 weeks, so your doctor telling you not to wear it at 4 weeks makes perfect sense to me.

Is This a Suture Abscess? Or Infection?

A suture abscess is a localized infection. Typical treatment is removal of the suture. In the photo on the left I can see what looks like a fragment of an Insorb staple, though it could be a suture. Your surgeon will most likely want to remove it at your visit. 

Thanks and best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

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