The optimal time for removal of stitches depends primarily on the location of the wound. The area that experiences greater strain during routine activities may have to carry the stitches for a longer time.
Before removal of the stitches, the wound is cleaned with an antiseptic to remove blood and scar tissue. Surgical scissors or a small blade is used to cut the knots one by one. The loose thread of the stitches is pulled out with forceps. The wound is cleaned again before placing an adhesive strip over it. A tug or slight pull may be experienced during the procedure. For dissolvable stitches the doctor may just pull off the adhesive bandage to analyze the stitches, if the healing is satisfactory, the area is cleaned and may be left open.
Stitches in the areas that heal rapidly may be removed within five to seven days. Elsewhere on the body, sutures may be left in for 7 to 10 days. The sutures on wounds that heal gradually, especially the stitches that are exposed to routine stress or regular stretching like joints may be left for a longer time.
Initially, a red, raised ridge may form at the wound site. The ridge subsides on its own with time. Symptoms of infection in the stitches include redness, pain, swelling, fever, bleeding, and pus- formation. You should consult your doctor immediately if you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms.
Proper care and hygiene should be maintained after the removal of the stitches to aid the recovery process.
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