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Healing: Where did that stitch come from?

This question was asked on the main discussion board and well answered by other members. I thought I would explain a little more of the background.

Wounds are closed in layers although you only see the outer layer of skin. Usually the layer just below the skin (called the subcutaneous layer or superfical fascia) is closed with a line of stitches then the skin is closed over it with another layer of stitches, staples or tape closures. The material that surgeons use to sew up the superficial fascia is catgut or polyglycolic acid (PGA). Most of us use PGA. It has the useful property of retaining it strength and mechanical soundness for several weeks. Then it is absorbed by the body using our old friend inflammation to "eat up" the suture material.

It is very common for the ends of the PGA suture to pop up through the skin during the healing period. The inflammatory reactions around the knots are also often visible as little red spots along the wound. The body takes care of all of this in time. However drainage of pus from the site where threads are poking through the skin may be a sign of trouble and should be reported.

Myles Clough MD Jan 20 2002


From: Dianne(Ontario)

Thank you for explaining that. I had that happen to me. Boy did I wonder where the heck this thing came from and was blaming the doctor for being "sloppy" and careless for leaving that out. Good to know it is a common thing that happens. I had my own Doctor snip it off. As I did not want to wait til my body absorb it. He said it would be a good conversational piece. No thanks, so off it came.
Thank you again. I must add that where we snipped it. Burst open when I was able to weight bear and now it scared that way.
Thanks again.


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