Suture Removal

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Non-absorbable sutures must eventually be removed

Skin sutures generally are removed from five to eight days after application, with sutures on the neck or face generally being removed slightly sooner. Absorbable sutures lose enough strength in that period that they can often be removed without cutting, but non-absorbables will need to be cut out:

1- Clean the area with an antiseptic, and, if required, use hydrogen peroxide to remove any crusties.

2- Pick up one end of the suture, and make the cut as close to where the suture goes in the skin as possible.

3- Gently pull the suture out.

To reduce the risk of infection, make sure the cut is made where the suture goes in the skin (rather than just anywhere in the exposed area). If you draw a suture that's been in contact with the outside world, you risk drawing contamination into the wound and getting an infection.

Doctors use specialized tools for suture removal, but if you find yourself in a bind, tweezers and nail clippers do the job just fine.

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