Standard sutures are used on deep cuts on the finger or another type of injury. These stitches stay in place for 1-2 weeks and then removed once the wound has fully closed. When it comes to absorbable sutures, they no longer need removal. These are made out of special materials that can stay in the body for an extended time. Over weeks or months, the body dissolves the sutures well after the incision has closed up.
Absorbable sutures are often utilized internally, but they can also be used on the skin surface. Take note that once a surgeon creates an incision; a cut is made through the skin, thus also cutting via the fat that is beneath the skin and even the muscles or other tissues. The surgeon will close the deeper areas of the incision using absorbable sutures and use more on the skin or another type of closure such as surgical skin glue or adhesive strips.
Absorbable sutures vary in both strength and how long they take for the body to reabsorb them. There are some types that dissolve as rapidly as 10 days while others can take up to 6 months to dissolve. The type of sutures used depends on the preference of the surgeon, how strong the suture needs to properly support the incision and how fast the body works to dissolve the material.
Caring for absorbable sutures
In case the absorbable sutures are on the skin, you can easily clean them. The ideal way to clean the incision is to clean starting at the dirtiest region of the incision up to the cleanest part. It simply means to start at the middle of the incision and move outward. Do not scrub the incision since it can be irritating to the healing skin and even slow down the closure of the wound.
If there are scabs on the sutures, avoid scrubbing them away. Take note that scabs are normal part of the incision closure and even though they can be annoying, they are indications that the skin is healing. All you have to do is to gently wash the incision in the shower. This is the ideal way to care for your incision. It is recommended to avoid bathing and swimming until the incision is completely closed. Do not forget to inspect the incision on a daily basis and monitor for any signs of infection or drainage from the wound.
Unable to feel the sutures
Many individuals claim that they could not sense their absorbable sutures beneath the incision even it appears to have fully healed. The first step is to stop poking or rubbing the incision site. The skin might close faster than the rest of the incision and repeated rubbing of the incision site will only disrupt the healing process.
Remember that it is considered normal not to feel the internal sutures and while most absorbable sutures dissolve within 6 months, some dissolve quicker or take longer to fully dissolve. Take note that this is normal and not an issue to worry about. There is also a sensation of scar tissue which is also normal for a surgical incision.