Suture Removal

What is suture removal?

Suture removal is a procedure to take sutures out of your skin. Sutures are used to close a wound. Suture removal helps prevent scarring and tissue damage.

When do I need to have my sutures removed?

Sutures are usually removed in 7 to 10 days. Sutures on your face need to be removed in 3 to 5 days. Sutures on your scalp need to be removed in 7 to 14 days. Sutures over joints may need to stay in place for 14 days because joints move and bend frequently.

How are sutures removed?

Your caregiver will clean off any dried blood or loose tissue. He will use sterile forceps to pick up the knot of each suture. He will cut the suture with scissors and pull the suture out. You may feel a slight tug as the suture comes out. Your caregiver may remove some or all of your sutures. He may place small strips of medical tape across your wound after the sutures have been removed. This tape will peel and fall of on its own. Do not pull it off.

How can I help my wound heal?

  • Clean your wound: Use soap and water. Pat the area dry with a clean towel. Ask your caregiver how often to clean your wound.

  • Elevate your wound: Raise your injured arm or leg above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your arm or leg on pillows to keep it elevated comfortably.

  • Protect your wound: Your wound can swell, bleed, or split open if it is stretched or bumped. Your caregiver may have you wear a binder to help protect your wound. A binder is a snug piece of fabric that helps support your wound and prevent it from splitting open.

When should I contact my caregiver?

Contact your caregiver if:

  • You have a fever and chills.

  • You have increased pain, even after treatment.

  • Your wound is red, swollen, draining pus, and has a bad smell.

  • You see red streaks on the skin around your wound.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Blood soaks through your bandage.

  • Your wound splits open.

  • You suddenly cannot move your injured joint.

  • You have sudden numbness around your wound.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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