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After surgery, will I have stitches or do they dissolve?

Surprisingly, I find that a lot of my patients are more scared about having their stitches removed than having surgery!

Be it a facelift, breast augmentation or tummy tuck, there are usually a few sutures that need to be removed. Sorry. Here’s why.

There are absorbable and non-absorbable sutures. Both can be used to re-approximate deep tissues under the skin or the skin itself. More often than not though, we use the non-absorbable kind to close the skin. The reason is that they tend to be a mono-filament, like fishing line. This type of suture elicits less of a scar reaction than a braided suture. Most absorbable ones are braided. So non-absorbable ones make for nicer scars, the goal of every Louisville plastic surgeon.

What I like to do is use a long lasting absorbable mono-filament suture for skin closure. I put one stitch outside the skin, tie a knot to anchor it, and then run it under the skin surface and when I get to the other end of the incision I tie another knot to secure the stitch. That way, all I have to do is clip the knot on either end the rest will dissolve. Plus, because the suture lasts several months, it continues to add strength to the stitch line to keep the scar from widening. So yes, most of the time I do have to remove sutures but I try to make it as user friendly as possible!

Lee Corbett, MD


All posts on this blog are presented by Louisville Cosmetic Surgery expert, Dr. Lee Corbett.

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