Absorbable thread for stitches

A note on the surgical thread used in cosmetic surgery procedures. Surgeons nowadays often use so-called absorbable, or self-dissolving, thread, especially in places where wounds are well-hidden, e.g. in the correction of protruding ears, or in forehead lifts.

My personal experience with such thread is rather negative. Conventional thread is usually taken out after one week. Then it’s out, and the matter is settled.

So-called absorbable thread may or may not dissolve. Much of it seems to be expelled in pieces towards the surface of the skin, which will typically take weeks, or even months.

For surgeons and clinics, this absorbable thread may be convenient. Anyway, they don’t have to attend to the matter again.

For patients, it also appears convenient. Anyway, they don’t have to return to the clinic to have the stitches removed.

But in reality, I find this absorbable thread, from the patient’s perspective, rather the opposite of convenient.

The reason is this: the thread that lingers below the skin for weeks is an irritation. I have an underlying awareness that on certain spots, there is a foreign object in my body, even though it is as tiny as a small length of thread. I will scratch the spot every now and then.

And when some of the thread (but not yet all of it) is finally at the surface, I will, rather unconsciously, pull it, which will result in a small wound, usually bleeding. That can be months after an operation.

I doubt that this is healthy, as this kind of thread removal (rather unconsciously, with one’s fingernails) carries a definite risk of infection, though this did not happen in my case.

Nevertheless, my recommendation is to request from a surgeon that normal thread is used for the stitches, the kind that is manually removed after a week or so, and not the absorbing one.


1 Marlen Andreevich Sulamanidze, Georgiih Marlenovich Sulamanidze, Surgical thread and cosmetic surgery method , Grant US 10/592,986, Mar 15, 2004

2 Katsuya Takasu Surgical thread for plastic surgery and method of imparting tension to skin BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan US 11/467,215