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Care For Your Absorbable Stitches
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Absorbable stitches, or sutures, are used to close cuts or wounds. These stitches are absorbed by your body, or fall off on their own within days or weeks. They do not need to be removed.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your wound comes apart.
- You have red streaks around your wound.
- You have swollen or painful lymph nodes.
- Blood soaks through your bandage.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have signs of an infection, such as increased redness, pain, swelling, or pus.
- You have a fever.
- Your stitches do not absorb when your healthcare provider says they should.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Care for your wound and absorbable stitches as directed:
- Protect the stitches. Wear protective clothing over the stitches, and protect the area from sunlight. Do not place pressure on your wound. This could open your wound and increase your risk for an infection.
- Clean your wound as directed. Carefully wash the wound with soap and water. Gently dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty. Check your wound for signs of infection when you clean it. Signs include redness, swelling, and pus.
- Keep the area dry as directed. Wait 12 to 24 hours after you receive your stitches before you take a shower. Take showers instead of baths. Do not take a bath or swim. Your healthcare provider will give you instructions for bathing with your stitches.
Help your wound heal:
- Elevate your wound. Keep your wound above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop the area on pillows or blankets, if possible, to keep it elevated comfortably.
- Limit activity. Do not stretch the skin around your wound. This will help prevent bleeding and swelling.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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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.