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Thread: How Long Before Removing Stitches?

  1. #1

    How Long Before Removing Stitches?


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    OK, a week ago today I got bit by a broken jar as I was taking out my trash. A quick trip to Doc-In-The-Box and five stitches later, the wound was closed up neatly. I was supposed to make a follow-up visit two days later-- Doc said he wanted to make sure the wound wasn't becoming infected-- but my schedule lately is just too hectic and besides I figured I could determine on my own how the wound was healing. I don't know, the follow-up sounded more like a way to add another visit to the insurance bill more than anything else so I let it slide.

    Fast forward to today. I call the clinic to ask when I ought to come in to have the stitches taken out. The little receptionist says I still need to come in to have the wound evaluated and is no help.

    I'm finally sick of putzing with it. I've had stitches any number of times in the past and it seems like they've been taken out around 10 days. I've got a damn sharp set of nippers and forceps in my fly tying box and I figure an alcohol bath ought to make them plenty serviceable for minor surgery. Then it's clean the wound, snip the suture and pull it clear. Right?

    The wound looks great, no discoloration, closed up nice and tight. I've got the tools as well as some betadine and bandages. I'm getting pretty tired of these things and if I can't make it to the clinic I'm gonna take care of it myself. So, how long should I wait?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Hanging off a post in a cornfield in Ohio
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    For five stitches? Give it ten to 14 days from the day of the injury.

  3. #3
    Well, for me, I had shoulder surgery on April 11th, and had the stiches removed on April 28th. So, that was 17 days and the cut was completely healed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Kintuky
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    Dude, there's a reason your doc wanted to see you! That's what they meant by 'wound evaluation'. It's not a cut-and-paste amount of time (possible infection, heal time differences..)

    I don't think many here are going to be kosher with giving out real medical advice over an internet forum, even just removing stitches, but it sounds like you've pretty much already figured out how to remove them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 1998
    Location
    CT
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    It depends on where the cut is - stitches may be left in anywhere from 3-5 days (face) to 10-14 days (back/arms/legs). Take them out too soon - the wound may separate, leave them in too long, you can get a bad cosmetic outcome.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Chicago Area
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    My understanding and experience matches Flotsam's exactly.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    land of the lost
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    post pics, and let me look at it.....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Norway (Europe)
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    I can give you some qualified advise, as I've got a bachelor in nursing and have removed more stitches than I can remember these past 5 years... 10-14 days is normally fine, and pretty much an optimal time to remove them (depends a bit on where the cut is, near/at a joint etc.). Sterilize the equipment you're using or get a suture removal kit at a pharmacy. Think before you cut the sutures, so you won't leave part of the suture under the skin. How you do it depends if it's single or running stitches. Singles are the most common. Keep strips (called steri-strips here in Norway) on hand in case parts haven't closed completely, you CAN get a surprise even if it looks good before you remove! This ain't rocket science, but looking up procedures on the web or posting a few closeups here for me and others to see is a good idea if you're not quite sure. And keep your equipment sterile, if you have 10 thumbs this is not for you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Good advice. Hit the nail on the head. Some pics would be helpfull.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    Over Yonder, Tennessee
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    42,026
    Oh, stop being such a namby pamby and rip 'em out. If the wound opens up and blood spurts everywhere, then you'll have your answer.


    Quote Originally Posted by Flanker View Post
    I can give you some qualified advise, as I've got a bachelor in nursing and have removed more stitches than I can remember these past 5 years... 10-14 days is normally fine, and pretty much an optimal time to remove them (depends a bit on where the cut is, near/at a joint etc.). Sterilize the equipment you're using or get a suture removal kit at a pharmacy. Think before you cut the sutures, so you won't leave part of the suture under the skin. How you do it depends if it's single or running stitches. Singles are the most common. Keep strips (called steri-strips here in Norway) on hand in case parts haven't closed completely, you CAN get a surprise even if it looks good before you remove! This ain't rocket science, but looking up procedures on the web or posting a few closeups here for me and others to see is a good idea if you're not quite sure. And keep your equipment sterile, if you have 10 thumbs this is not for you.

    Seriously, I'm going +1 with what he said. Sounds like you should wait a few more days.


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  11. #11
    Thanks for the excellent info guys and I promise to respond in more detail soon, might even snap a pic or two, cuz who doesn't like stitches pictures?

    However, I ended up in an emergency room this evening (quite by accident... bada bing!) and had the doc take a look at my stitches while I was there. He said 3 to 5 more days and they'll be ready to come out. So, I guess I'll wait it out. And it looks like I'm gonna be laid up for a few days so I can probably make some time to have someone do a proper job of taking them out but that's edging into another story, and right now I just don't have the energy to tell it. Maybe tomorrow...

    Thanks again guys!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Indiana
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    3,370
    When I cut my little finger last November...the Doc had me leave my stiches in for almost 3 weeks.
    HOGTIED

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Tejas
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    7,803
    I have stitches between my 3rd and fourth toes (don't ask) and the foot butcher told me 10 days.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Bethel, Connecticut, United States
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    9,484
    Send me $25.00 for the copay and I'll tell you

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Bangkok, Thailand
    Posts
    103
    7 days is enough

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    1,364
    All my stitches is around 2 weeks or so. I've been stitiched up by my friend before, and I just took them out myself. No biggie, as long as it aint infected.

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