How to Achieve Proper Suture Care
What are sutures?
A suture is a needle or row of needles that hold the edges of a wound or surgical incision together. Sutures may sometimes be called sutures.
It is important to take good care of the sutures to aid the healing process.
Keep the wound dry
It is important to keep the wound dry, especially during the first 24 hours. Wounds take time to heal, and moisture can slow down healing.
After the first 24 hours, you can wet the wound for a short time, such as in the shower. Pat the wound dry as soon as it gets wet.
Do not soak the wound or swim until the stitches are removed.
Use only creams or ointments (emollients) recommended by your doctor.
If your sutures are also bandaged, follow your doctor's care instructions.
Keep the wound clean
Keep the wound clean and free of dirt.
Avoid any activity that may put pressure on the sutured area. This can cause the stitches to separate.
The healing process
Don't choose a covering dressing.
Do not pick scabs. They come off once the wound has healed or the stitches are removed.
Slight exudation may occur when the sutures are removed. This is normal.
It is normal for the scar to be red at first, but it will fade over the next few months.
Signs of infection
The wound may become infected. Signs of infection are:
- Fever within 48 hours of stitching
- increased pain
- Excessive or persistent ooze
- Pus or smelly discharge.
- If you are concerned about possible signs of infection or have any other concerns, visit your GP or emergency department.
If you have mild pain, consider taking paracetamol or ibuprofen and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Removal of sutures
If the stitches come off before the removal date, see your doctor.
Your GP may remove the suture.
In some cases, disposable sutures are used. These sutures dissolve and disintegrate on their own. These do not need to be removed by a doctor.
Wound healing and scarring
Whenever the skin is damaged, the scar forms a normal healing part. All wounds heal with scars, however, if good care is given as the wound heals, the scars will be less noticeable.
In the first 6 to 8 weeks after the injury, the scar will change from a thick red raised scar to a thinner, paler, more elastic scar. Scars can take up to 2 years to fully mature.
The scar's final appearance depends on several factors, including the extent of the original wound, the inherited skin quality, and the treatment of the scar.
Take care of your scars
Scar massage can be done after the stitches are removed from the wound or about 2 to 4 weeks after the injury. This should be done for 5 to 10 minutes, twice a day. Do not massage any open or infected scars.
For the first 2 to 4 weeks, massage should be done in the same direction as the incision. The pressure applied should be enough to change the color of the scar from pink to pale, but not so tight that it is painful.
After about 4 weeks, the scar can be massaged in all directions. Continue massaging daily until the scar becomes pale and thin.
Moisturizing lotions like vitamin E cream, aloe vera, sorbitol, or other fragrance-free products can be used to soften scars and make massage easier.
It is important to protect scars from sun damage, which can permanently discolor scars. You should always cover scars with at least SPF 30 sunscreen or zinc cream, wear scar-covering clothing and stay in the shade.
It is important to avoid activities and areas that can stain the wound. This includes cycling, skateboarding, swimming, and play areas such as sandpits.
Scars are a problem if they are painful or itchy, hard or raised, restrict movement, or remain purple or red.
Risk factors for problem scars include certain skin types (especially dark, Mediterranean, or Asian skin), previous problem scars, postoperative wound complications such as poor healing (more than three weeks) or infection.
Contact your GP if you are concerned that your scars are not healing as expected.