Instead of focusing on traditional stitches, many doctors are using dissolvable stitches. These stitches can be used on internal or external wounds and do not need to be removed like normal stitches, cutting down on the trauma of helping to manage your wound. It often takes 1-2 weeks for such stitches to dissolve, during which you should also take care for them.
Dissolvable stitches take advantage of the body’s natural desire to destroy foreign substances. These stitches are made from materials like collagen, hair, silk and artificial materials that can easily be broken down. Which will encourage the body to dissolve these stitches as your wound heals.
Dissolvable stitches are typically used to treat surface wounds or deep surgical wounds, though they are more commonly used to treat wounds that are below the skin such as those used to treat a transplant organ or heart surgery. Wounds on the surface of the skin such as those caused by childbirth can be treated with dissolvable stitches.
Dissolvable stitches are intended to remain intact until the wound has completely heal, then slowly fade. If you find that your stitches are still making you uncomfortable after the wound has healed then you should make an appointment at your local GP surgery. They will inspect your skin for loose ends and remove any additional stitching that remains.
The amount of material woven together to make the stitch will vary based on how they will be used. Dissolvable stitches used for plastic surgery or surgeries that are trying to avoid scarring. The stitches will be thicker in areas where scarring is not a concern or a thicker stitch is needed to hold the materials together. These stitches will also vary in elasticity based on where they will be used. Stitches in highly active areas will be more elastic to help avoid tearing.
The decomposition rate for dissolvable stitches will vary based on the area where they are used. Those on the surface will dissolve very quickly, but those used on deeper wounds will last longer to ensure that they do not dissolve before the wound had healed.
The length of time needed for your stitches to dissolve will depend on what they are made of. Most of these stitches will disappear in as little as 1-2 weeks. After your injury has healed, a nurse will go over the area and remove any ends of the stitches that may be remaining. Your doctor should give you some indication on how long it will take for your stitches to dissolve when they are put in so you know what to expect.
On some cases, stitches will not dissolve properly. This will typically happen when one part of the stitch remains outside of the body where the body’s fluids cannot dissolve it. Doctors can help you remove this portion of the stitch when this occur.
Protect Stitches. Do not scratch your stitches. Even though they are strong, constant scratching can cause damage. Avoid activities such as contact sports so your stitches have a chance to heal without being strained or pulled loose. Also avoid swimming until the stitches have disappeared. If you are minding a child, ensure that they do not get into mud, paint, sand or water. This could cause an infection or cause the area with the stitches to get sore and dirty. Children should also avoid attending gym classes at school until the stitches have healed. Your doctor should give you a full list of things that should be avoided while you are healing.
Beware of Infection. While you are caring for your stitches, watch for signs of infection. This may include redness around your wound, swelling, pus or bleeding from the wounded area, an unpleasant odor around the wound, the wound may feel warm, a fever or increasing pain in the wounded area. If you note any of these symptoms, call your doctor to get advice on how to proceed.