What happens if stitches / sutures are not removed on time?

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    I have a huge scar from a surgery and i removed the stitches myself.. some pieces broke off and i was never able to get them out.. this was 10/2013.. this scar has been itching on and off for a year or a bit less.. in some i can see a black dot like the stitch is coming out but they still havent and it itches..what should i do ??

    If you fail to remove stitches that are not biodegradable, the skin could grow around them and make it very difficult to remove after this happens, making the risk of infection even higher when attempting to remove them late. Also, you risk having more scarring than you would if they were removed as directed by your doctor.

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    Some kinds of sutures will self-dissolve, but with most common kinds the skin would likely grow over it and embed the suture and you’ll end up with an infection, necessitating needing to have it cut out by a doctor, or risk an even worse infection and uglier thicker scar tissue.

    I just had orif ankle surgery and my Dr. left my stitches in for 20 days. I knew it was too long because the stitches got dry and began tearing my skin. Some the skin grew over and had to be torn through skin to be removed. VERY PAINFUL. I was screaming like a baby and very upset. I feel anything over 14 days is WAY TOO LONG. I have a cast on now but I pray I won’t have significant scarring. They did begin to get red and irritated after 2 weeks. Never again. I WILL TAKE THEM OUT MYSELF BEFORE I EVER LET THAT HAPPEN AGAIN!

    Your skin may grow around and over the stitches if they are left in for too long. The stitches would then have to be dug out by a doctor, which sounds dreadful. This can result in infections, which isn’t good.

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    It depends on the type of suture material. Monofilament, non-absorbable suture like nylon or polypropylene will slowly embed itself in the skin and be very hard to remove. It leaves more scar that heals conspicuously (the classical “railroad track” scar). Braided suture tends to fester more and cause wounds to erupt with small abscesses and superficial infection until it is removed. The main problem with delayed suture removal is that scarring is worse.

    Nothing terrible. The scar may be a bit more pronounced. There is a slightly increased chance of wound infection.

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    It depends on the type of stitch and your body’s immune response. Absorbable sutures will dissolve in six weeks to a few months and are not a serious concern. Non-absorbable sutures (Nylon, Proline) can become incorporated with or without causing an inflammatory reaction. The fascia from abdominal surgeries is always closed with a non-absorbable suture to prevent future hernia occurrence. However the body can cause an immune reaction leading to granuloma formation. These though are very rare.

    In other words, see a physician if you are worried. They undergo a long process of training to diagnose and treat such issues.

    What may happen if a future is not removed can vary a lot. Sometimes the suture can become incorporated into the flesh, and never cause any problems. It can also serve as a path that allows bacteria to get into your blood stream.

    Pretty much anything between is also possible. Your body can react to the foreign object perhaps years after the suture is placed.

    The best thing to do is to follow the advice of the doctor who put the stitches in. Some are intended to be reabsorbed by your body, some need to be removed as soon as there is healing. Some need to stay.

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