When Should Breast Augmentation Sutures Be Removed?

My crease incision from breast augmentation will be closed with external nylon sutures. I have heard different stories as to the timing of suture removal. Is 3 weeks too long for the nylon suture to be left in place? Will my skin grow over the sutures? What are some of the possible complications with these types of sutures left in place for that long? Your insights will be appreciated. Thanks very much.

Doctor Answers 25

Depends on the closure


In general , it is best to err on the side of leaving sutures a little longer. Having an incision open up is not in your best interest. If the incision is closed with an underneath stitch that has knots at either end , then pulling it out at 3 weeks is fine. If the incision is closed with individual sutures, the knots may leave significant marks by 3 weeks.

We remove sutures anywhere from 6-14 days, depending on swelling, healing of the incision and expected stress on the incision. Discuss with your doctor. Needless to say, he wants you to heal first and also has a good scar in mind as well. Best of luck.

Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Removable sutures and the timing for removal


Removable sutures need to be removed relatively soon after placement to minimize noticeable scarring, but the exact timing depends upon what other measures have been used to support the wound. If other dissolving sutures are placed under the Nylon sutures, then the Nylon can be removed earlier with little risk of wound disruption.

Ask your surgeon as the exact timing depends upon the technique he or she used.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Suture Removal After Breast Augmentation

The decision in using dissolvable sutures vs non-dissolvable sutures is dependent on the preference of the surgeon.

Dissolvable sutures will last longer to maintain the integrity of the wound edges. However, if they are placed superficially at the skin edge, they may dissolve too quickly and lead to the small suture abscess/infection.

These little suture abscesses can lead to a noticeable scar. Thus, some surgeons will use non-dissolvable sutures on the superficial skin closure.

In general, most sutures that are non-dissolvable should be removed in 5-7 days.

T.Y. Steven Ip, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Suture removal after breast augmentation

Thanks for your question -

Each surgeon may use different techniques to close incisions after breast augmentation. In our San Francisco area practice we do not use sutures that need to be removed.

When thinking about permanent sutures (like nylon or prolene) sometimes leaving these sutures in for more than a week can leave "track marks" along the incision. This can be avoided when using these types of suture by varying the placement of the suture, for example placing the suture with a "running subcuticular" where the suture ends exit the ends of the wound only avoids the potential scar issues of a traditional "baseball" stitch.

I hope this helps.

Breast augmentation suture removal

Leaving sutures in place for too long can lead to additional scarring.

Factors determining the timing of suture removal depend on the type of skin closure.

1. If there is individual sutures going across the incision, they usually have to be removed within 5-7 days. Otherwise they can cause residual/permanent marks in the skin after they are removed.

2. If you have a removable sub-cuticular closure (in which case you can only see the suture at the ends of your incision), then they can be removed up to 2 weeks after surgery with no problem.

3. If you have a absorbable sub-cuticular closure (no stitches are visible), then you never have to have the sutures removed and they will go away on their own over a period of several weeks.

The most common approaches are # 2 and #3. However, if performed properly, all approaches can yield a good result.

I hope you find this information helpful.

Good luck with your procedure.

A. Peter Salas, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
3.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Leaving nylon stitch in for 3 weeks depends on technique.

This is perfectly acceptable depending on the technique used to place the nylon sutures. In many cases the stitch runs beneath the surface and comes through the skin only at the beginning and end of the incision (subcuticular). Leaving it in for 3 weeks tends to keep the wound from spreading wide during the most active part of the healing process.

If howeever, individual stitches are placed, then generally, you would want to have them removed prior to 3 weeks to avoid stitch marks.

Some surgeons actually bury a permanent stitch (polypropylene) beneath the surface for 6 months prior to removing it .

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Sutures used to close breast augmentation wounds

As a general rule breast augmentation wounds are closed in several layers.
I personally close my breast augmentation wound using 3 layers on internal dissolving sutures. This way, the patient does not see any sutures and nothing needs to be removed.
Ultimately the surgeon wants a very fine white line for the scar.
I would suggest that it is unusual for a plastic surgeon to use external nylon sutures that need to be removed?
If you a referring to a single nylon stitch that runs under the skin along the entire length of the wound and is only visible at either end of the wound, then this situation might be understandable. This would be the only situation where I would think a surgeon would consider leaving a stitch in for 3 weeks, at which stage they simply pull on the stitch and it slides out with a well healed wound. However, 3 weeks could be considered excessive even in this situation and I would suggest that no more than 10-14 days would be required.
However, this is very different to the situation where the wound is closed using multiple interrupted sutures along the length of the wound. These should be removed 5-7 days post-op. If they are left in too long then you will end up with a scar that has "track marks" along the entire length, which is very unsightly.
I would get clarification from your surgeon and justification for their preferred technique.

Eddy Dona, MBBS, FRACS
Sydney Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Removal of sutures after breast augmentation

Thank you for the question.  It depends on you surgeon but usually the removal should be about 5-7 days after operation.  it also depends on whether your surgeon used dissolving or non-dissolving sutures.  Best to contact your surgeon about this concern.  best of luck.  Dr. Michael Omidi.

Michael M. Omidi, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Breast augmentation sutures

Thank you for your question. External sutures are generally left in from a few days to several weeks depending on their purpose. If it is simply to reapproximate skin, then the duration is shorter. If they are to allow for a more scar tissue healing to help shape the breast or define a fold, then several weeks is more appropriate. The big downside is that the suture track marks are more prone to being visible long-term. The alternative would be do consider internal sutures to do the same thing if your surgeon feels this is possible.

Balancing the risks and benefits

Typically we remove sutures at one week.  The longer external sutures stay in, the more likely they are to leave permanent marks.  The earlier they are removed the higher the risk of the wound opening.  This is a balance for every surgery.

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.