Is it Painful to Get Stitches Removed?
In most cases, minor cuts and scrapes will heal on their own. However, more severe wounds or surgical incisions may require stitches or staples to secure the skin while it heals. The goal of using stitches or staples is to attach the edges of the skin so the tissues are able to fuse back together. Once the skin has adequately healed, the stitches are removed.
While most patients feel a bit anxious about having their stitches removed, the procedure does not typically cause any pain. A main benefit of stitches is that they aid the cut in healing and the goal is to avoid scarring or infection.
It is not always easy to determine if stitches are required to close a wound. It will ultimately be up to the health care provider to determine if stitches are required. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention right away:
- A cut which is deep, jagged, or gaping open
- Cut on the face or any other part of the body where scarring should be avoided
- Continuous bleeding after 20 minutes of applying pressure
- Hand, limb or another body part which stops functioning correctly
If any of the above situations apply to the injury, it is important to visit a doctor right away. Direct pressure should also be applied to aid in controlling the bleeding. It can also be beneficial to raise the injured area above your heart.
In some situations, such as a puncture wound, stitches may not be recommended. Patients are still encouraged to visit a doctor, this is especially important if it has been more than five years since receiving a tetanus shot.
Once a health care professional assesses the injury and determines stitches are necessary, the first steps will be cleaning the wound and numbing the area. While the cleaning of a wound is not typically painful, the doctor may first administer a local anesthetic to reduce any discomfort. However, if the injury appears to be dirty, it may be more important to clean it first.
Prior to sewing the cut back together, the doctor will ensure does not contain dirt, debris or any other foreign objects. In some cases, an X-ray may also performed to ensure the wound is clean. For example, when the cut is the result of glass or sharp metal, it is imperative to ensure the cut is clean and does not contain any debris prior to closing it.
If there is any dead tissue present, this may also be removed to aid in the healing process. The edges of the cut will then be pulled together and stitched closed.
Various types of surgical thread may be used, including silk or nylon. Some types of surgical thread are able to dissolve on their own and do not require removal. Absorbable stitches are often used in surgical operations or when the cut is particularly deep.
In most cases, stitches usually need to stay in place for about four days to two weeks. The duration for the stiches will depend on the severity of the cut and where the cut is located. Follow the doctor’s recommendation for when the stiches should be removed. The removal of stitches is quite a bit quick than the process for initially placing them. The doctor will clip each thread near the knot and pulls them out through the skin. While you may feel a bit of tugging, the removal of stitches should not result in any pain. An anesthetic is not used to remove stiches.