Suture (Stitch/Thread) Remaining After Surgery is Ok?

After face lift, my surgeon took out suture (thread) and then I found out more sutures. So, my coordinator helped me visit and a nurse took care of. However, I still found more. After my surgeon took out suture, I had to visit 3 times and the nurse took out about 15 suture (knots and thread) on my head. I also found out some thread (white string) on my nose which my surgeon told me to leave alone since it would be absolved. No problem with stitch remaining after surgery?

Doctor Answers 12

It's not unusual for sutures to protrude through the skin...

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Absorbable sutures are frequently utilized for facelift surgery. These sutures are typically placed in the dermis directly below the surface of the skin. In this position they prevent the spread of facial scars. Unfortunately these sutures are foreign material and there’s a tendency for the body to work them to the surface before they can dissolve.
For this reason, it’s not unusual for these sutures to protrude through the skin. Despite this they serve an extremely important function. Although these sutures represent a source of irritation, their use results in thinner scars and better aesthetic results.

Absorbable Sutures after Facelift

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  In general, absorbable sutures can remain unless causing irritation or a source of infection.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Sutures Remaining After a Facelift Are Nothing To Worry About

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While you certainly had a lot of them, problems with sutures after a facelift is not uncommon. Typically, dissolvable sutures are placed under the skin to help close the incision. These sutures are meant to dissolve in 3-6 weeks, but sometimes can take up to 6 months to completely go away. In the meantime, they can push through the surface of the skin, and if so, need to be removed. Other than being a really big nuisance, they should not cause you any problems. Good luck.

Michael R. Menachof, MD
Greenwood Village Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Common occurence

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Thank you for your question.

It is common for absorbable sutures to be left over after surgical procedures. While, it may be a pain to do an extra visit to the office to have it removed, I would not worry about it.

Good luck!

Sam Speron, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

During a facelift, dissolvable sutures are often used under the skin.

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During a facelift, dissolvable sutures are often used under the skin. These sutures are meant to dissolve over time, but different people absorb them at different rates and it is possible that the stitches will begin to be expelled by the body and end up poking through the skin. While this may be annoying, it should not be a problem unless the stitches begin to cause irritation.

Absorbable sutures after facelift surgery

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It is not uncommon for absorbable sutures to be left after facelift surgery. They usually dissolve after 3-4 weeks. While, it may be inconvenience to do an extra visit to the office to have them removed, I should not raise any concerns.

Kevin Sadati, DO
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 224 reviews

Still have sutures after surgery?

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Excellent question, and please allow me to comfort you that it is not uncommon to have sutures remaining after surgery.  Some surgeons will use a combination of dissolvable sutures and sutures that need to be removed.

James Chan, MD
Portland Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Stitches still coming out after surgery? No problem!

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Thank you for your question.  Please be reassured that this is a very common occurrence after any type of surgery.  It is usually very unnerving for patients, but generally not dangerous at all.  As you know, surgical procedures are performed with both permanent and absorbable sutures.  Absorbable sutures are designed to dissolve over time (the amount of time varies by the suture type and size), but the truth is different people dissolve the stitches at a different rate.  If they don't break down fast, they can cause irritation. They then work their way up to the skin and start poking out of a weak spot in the skin (usually the incision).  We often just remove the offending stitches - depending of course on their position.  While I can certainly understand how upsetting this can be, it is perfectly normal and should not affect your result.   

Andrew Jimerson, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 557 reviews

Sutures Remaining after Facelift

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Some of these sutures were found before they dissolved. The only problem you will have is the inconvenience of having to return to the office for their removal.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Sutures post facelift

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It is quite common to notice sutures after a facelift, even after the external skin sutures are removed. These are usually dissolving, but may 'spit' out as the wound heals. Occasionally, the area around the suture can become inflamed and should be checked by your doctor.

Wilfred Brown, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon

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.