When undergoing surgery, there are several options for wound closure depending on the type of procedure. For stitches on the skin’s surface, an adhesive (surgical glue) or removable stitches can be used. But some surgeries require incisions through multiple layers of tissue, such as an abdominoplasty, rhinoplasty or breast augmentation, making the removal of stitches afterwards impossible. In these cases, dissolvable stitches, also known as dissolving stitches, can be used.
Dissolvable stitches, or absorbable sutures, can be used in a number of different procedures, including cosmetic surgeries. They are made of natural materials such as animal protein, hair, silk and collagen – products that the body doesn’t consider foreign substances, and can therefore be broken down naturally. Dissolvable stitches can be specially formulated to provide the best type of healing to the incision. These stitches can be used in procedures that require longer healing periods, and in places where there is more elasticity and movement needed to avoid stitches snapping or coming out.
Unlike traditional sutures, you don’t need a follow up appointment with your surgeon, as these stitches dissolve naturally. The amount of time needed for the stitches to disintegrate completely varies by procedure. For some, sutures can be gone in as little as 5-14 days. Others may take anywhere from 30 days to 3 months. Using topical creams rich in vitamin E and mineral oils can help reduce the appearance of scars once the stitches have gone.