When should sutures be removed?

Updated: Mar 05, 2020
  • Author: Desiree Ratner, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

Sutures should be removed within 1-2 weeks of their placement, depending on the anatomic location. Prompt removal reduces the risk of suture marks, infection, and tissue reaction. The average wound usually achieves approximately 8% of its expected tensile strength 1-2 weeks after surgery. To prevent dehiscence and spread of the scar, sutures should not be removed too soon.

In general, the greater the tension across a wound, the longer the sutures should remain in place. As a guide, on the face, sutures should be removed in 5-7 days; on the neck, 7 days; on the scalp, 10 days; on the trunk and upper extremities, 10-14 days; and on the lower extremities, 14-21 days. Sutures in wounds under greater tension may have to be left in place slightly longer. Buried sutures, which are placed with absorbable suture material, are left in place because they dissolve.


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!