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How Long Before Removing Stitches?

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by Texas Slim, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. Texas Slim

    Texas Slim

    Feb 12, 2007
    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. JNieporte


    Nov 1, 2004
    For five stitches? Give it ten to 14 days from the day of the injury.
  3. datsgor

    datsgor Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 27, 2005
    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. SpookyPistolero


    Dec 13, 2005
    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. Flotsam


    Oct 13, 1998
    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. Watchful


    Dec 8, 2004
    My understanding and experience matches Flotsam's exactly.
  7. j williams

    j williams Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 14, 2005
    post pics, and let me look at it.....
  8. Flanker


    Oct 28, 2007
    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. j williams

    j williams Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 14, 2005
    Good advice. Hit the nail on the head. Some pics would be helpfull.
  10. Guyon

    Guyon Biscuit Whisperer Staff Member Super Mod Gold Member

    Mar 15, 2000
    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. :p :D

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

    Texas Slim

    Feb 12, 2007
    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. ceiw


    Aug 25, 2006
    When I cut my little finger last November...the Doc had me leave my stiches in for almost 3 weeks.
  13. shotgunner11


    Dec 17, 2005
    I have stitches between my 3rd and fourth toes (don't ask) and the foot butcher told me 10 days.
  14. tonym


    Mar 18, 2008
    Send me $25.00 for the copay and I'll tell you:D
  15. scalpelX


    Apr 5, 2008
    7 days is enough
  16. sherlockbonez


    Apr 28, 2002
    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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