Facts You Should Know about Removing Stitches (Sutures)
Among the many methods for closing wounds of the skin, stitching or suturing is the most common form of repairing a wound. And removing stitches is the necessary process if sutures are nonabsorbable after wound repair. However, it is always the procedure that lots of people dread. So if understanding the skin-closure procedures and knowing how they are put in and how they are removed can help overcome much of this anxiety. Let's see it.
When stitches is used?
Nearly every part of the body, internally and externally, can use stitches to close cuts or wounds in the skin, which allows the skin to heal naturally. Also, surgeons use stitches to tie ends of bleeding blood vessels in the operations and close surgical incisions.
What is needed if perform stitches?
If performing stitches, suture instruments are necessary, such as surgical scissors, needle drivers, forceps, and thread. Besides, sterile water and peroxide, antiseptic solution, anesthetic agent, topical antibiotic gel, and bandages are required.
How to perform stitches?
The general technique is uncomplicated. But if the patients require wound perfection and little pain, it would not so simple.
- Attach the "thread" to a needle.
- Clean the wound with sterile water and peroxide.
- Cleanse the area around the wound with an antiseptic solution, such as Betadine.
- Numb the area with an anesthetic agent such as Xylocaine.
- Sew the edges of the wound together with the needle with the thread.
- Spread over the stitches with the topical antibiotic gel once the wound is closed.
- Apply the bandage to the wound.
All sutured wounds develop scars, but scars are usually small.
How to prepare for removing the stitches?
After stitches, usually, the patients are given instructions for taking care of their stitches and wound and are told the approximate date to have the stitches removed.
A sample of such instructions includes:
- Keep the wound clean and dry for the first 24 hours.
- Showering is allowed after 48 hours or showering is allowed but does not influence or clean the wound.
- If the bandages get wet, the wet bandage should be replaced with a clean and dry one. It can be safely removed from the wound if the wound does not continue to bleed or has a discharge.
- Antibiotic ointment should be used after cleaning the wound.
All the above operations are necessary and good for wound repair. Keep on until the date the stitches have to be removed.
How to remove stitches?
It is not recommended to remove stitches by yourself at home. While it is done in a doctor's office, usually surgical scissors, tweezers, rubbing alcohol, cotton swabs, adhesive bandages or adhesive strips, and antibiotic ointments are needed.
- Sterilize the materials
- Wash and sterilize the suture site. Wash the site with soapy hot water, and dry it with a clean towel. Then wipe the area with alcohol and a cotton swab.
- Sit in an area where the doctor can see the suture site clearly.
- Snip and slip the stitches. Pull gently up on each knot with tweezers and snip the stitch with scissors. Then gently pull on the thread until the suture slips out of the skin. You may feel the process of removing stitches is rarely painful. Note: Stop and apply a bandage if your wound begins bleeding after removing a stitch or your wound opens up.
- Clean the wound area with an alcohol-soaked cotton ball. Then apply the antibiotic ointment.
Other wound closing methods you may be interested in:
1. Surgical staples
Surgical staples can be used to close many types of wounds. The advantage of staples is that they are faster and may cause fewer infections than sutures. The downside of staples is that they can leave permanent scars if used incorrectly and that the edges of the wound are not perfectly aligned, which can lead to improper healing. Staples are used for scalp lacerations and are often used to suture surgical wounds.
2. Skin Closure tapes
It is also known as tape and has recently gained popularity. The advantages are plenty. The wound infection rate was lower with tape than with sutures. Also, less time is required to use the skin closure tape. For many people, there is no need for painful injections of anesthesia when using skin closure tape. Disadvantages of using skin closure tape include less precision in holding the wound edges together than sutures. Not all parts of the body can be taped. For example, areas of the body with discharge, such as the armpits, palms, or soles, are areas where tape can be difficult to place. Areas with hair are also not suitable for tape.
It can be used to close wounds. The material is applied somewhat like glue to the edges of the wound and should keep the edges of the wound together until it heals. Glue is the latest in wound repair and is becoming a popular alternative to sutures, especially for children. After about 5-7 days, the adhesive will simply peel or fray.
Even though it is not recommended to remove stitches at home, the persons still could experience the suture and removing stitches process at home with suture practice kits, which are also essential tools for medical students to practice suture and stitch removing skills before working on a real person.