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Monday, 4 September 2017

Stitch Removal

Someone asks,
"Can I remove my stitches myself at home?"
"What if I can't make it on the appointment date given for stitch removal?"

I personally would advice against attempting to remove the stitches at home if you are not a trained healthcare personnel.


There's a few things that your doctor need to assess when he or she removes your stitches. For one, he or she needs to check if your wound has healed nicely and it's ready for the stitches to be removed. If the stitches are removed too early, you may risk having the wound gaps and you may need re-suturing. If the stitches are removed too late, more often than not the suture materials maybe buried under the skin making it difficult to remove and at higher risk of scarring.

Also, he or she needs to check if there is any sign of infection. If there is any early sign of infection, it should be treated early.

When should a stitch be removed?

When a stitch needs to be removed depends on a few factors.

First, the location of the wound, generally the wound of the face heals faster and will be removed soonest compare to other parts of the body, for example legs.

Second, the types of sutures used. Some sutures are absorbable and does not require opening of stitches.

Third, the tension of the stitches on the skin.

Other factors include age, smoking, underlying skin disease, previously irradiated skin, general health, infection etc.

Generally the doctor who stitched it will be the best person to advice you when is the best time to remove it.

Can't make it for the appointment to remove the stitch?

If possible, always tell your doctor before he or she make that stitch so that he or she can plan something else for you. Intradermal or subcuticular stitching with absorbable sutures will be fine to leave in.

Is there any nearby healthcare facility, a family doctor clinic for example, to help you removing it?

If you are confident enough and really want to remove it yourself, ask your doctor if he or she could provide you with the material and teach you how. ;)
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