Suture removal is a procedure performed to remove non-absorbent sutures that have been used to close a wound. The timing of suture removal is determined by the healing of the wound and the extent of the surgery, usually within 7 to 14 days. Sutures must be left in place long enough to ensure adequate wound closure and support for internal tissues and organs.
Before removing sutures, a healthcare team at TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track, member assesses the wound to determine if it is sufficiently healed for suture removal. An order from the primary healthcare provider (physician or nurse practitioner) is required before the procedure can be performed. A comprehensive assessment of the wound site is conducted prior to the removal of sutures by our healthcare team member.
The suture removal process typically starts with the removal of alternate sutures. This means that every second suture is removed first, while the remaining sutures are removed once the skin tissue has achieved adequate approximation. However, if the wound is well healed, all sutures may be removed at the same time. In some cases, the removal of the remaining sutures may be delayed and performed days or weeks later.
To remove sutures, sterile suture scissors or a suture blade are used. The procedure involves holding the knot of the suture with forceps, gently pulling up the knot, and slipping the tip of the scissors under the suture near the skin. The suture is then cut as close as possible to the skin at the distal end of the knot. The knotted end of the suture is grasped with forceps, and the suture is pulled out of the tissue in one continuous action. The removed suture is placed on sterile gauze for disposal.
During the suture removal process, the wound is inspected for any signs of separation or complications. If the wound edges open up or there are concerns about the healing process, the suture removal is stopped, Steri-Strips may be applied to pull the wound edges together, and the appropriate healthcare providers are notified.
After the sutures are removed, Steri-Strips may be applied to the suture line to support wound tension and reduce scarring. The patient is positioned comfortably, and patient teaching is provided regarding wound care, bathing, wound inspection, and factors that enhance wound healing.
Complications related to suture removal can include wound dehiscence (separation of incision edges), pain during suture removal, infection, scarring, keloid formation (excessive scar tissue), and hypertrophic scars (thickened scars within the wound boundaries). Any complications or concerns should be reported to your primary healthcare provider for appropriate management.
It’s important to note that this information is a general overview and should not replace specific instructions or guidelines provided by healthcare professionals or hospital policies.
Frequently Asked Questions about Suture Removal
Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about suture removal:
References & Sources
At TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track, we rely exclusively on reputable sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information presented in our articles.
Please keep in mind that the FAQs offered here are intended for general informational purposes and should not be considered a substitute for personalized advice from a qualified healthcare provider. For tailored guidance based on your unique circumstances, we strongly recommend consulting with your healthcare professional at TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track.
- Perry, A. G., Potter, P. A., Ostendorf, W., & Hall, A. (2014). Clinical Nursing Skills & Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences.