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Dissolvable Stitches

Stitches play a huge role in any surgical procedures, be it a surgeon, dentist, or veterinarians. Stitches are made to close up cuts, gashes, and surgical incisions.

There are different types of stitches, but most surgeons use dissolvable stitches or also known as absorbable sutures. Stitches that dissolve can both used externally and internally. (1)

How dissolvable stitches differ from non-dissolvable stitches?

  • A dissolvable stitch is naturally decomposed by the body.
  • You don’t need a follow-up doctor’s visit to remove the stitches.
  • Dissolvable stitches are produced using natural materials such as processed collagen, hair, and silk.
  • Some dissolvable stitches are made from synthetic materials, but the body is able to break them down. (2, 3)

A comparison between absorbable,dissolvable stitches and non-absorbable stitches.image

Photo 1: A comparison between absorbable/dissolvable stitches and non-absorbable stitches.
Picture Source: www.dolphinsutures.com

A before and after photo of a patient who undergone caesarean section who’s incision is closed using absorbable sutures.photo

Image 2:  before and after photo of a patient who undergone caesarean section who’s incision is closed using absorbable sutures.
Photo Source: www.insorb.com

How long does it take for stitches to dissolve?

How much time does a dissolvable stitch need to disappear? Well, it varies depending on several factors. Usually, a dissolvable stitch starts to dissolve in seven to fourteen days (1-2 weeks).

Some takes months for the stitch to completely disappear. If your body is slowly reacting to the stitches, then you can ask your doctor to have it removed provided your wound has healed completely. (3, 4)

The popularity of dissolvable stitches

Dissolvable stitches are gaining popularity these days as more and more surgeons prefer to use them over non-dissolvable stiches. Both external and internal dissolvable stitches can be dissolved by the body, which means that it require les doctor visit. The stitches can be removed by the patient at home provided there are no dissolvable stitches infection. (5)

How the body dissolves stitches? Well, it functions the same way as it would fight off infection. The cells react to the wounds and sutures by increasing the flow of blood in the affected area. As a result, the body will fight off the infection and supplies the growing tissues with oxygen and essential nutrients.

The blood contains phagocytes, the cells that attack the body. What these cells do is they attack the suture making the dissolving process easy and fast. (2, 6)

Dissolvable stitches are usually used in caesarean section, dental surgery, and surgeries that require internal sutures. They are best used for internal surgical incisions because they need adequate supply of blood to be absorbed and dissolved easily. They can be used externally too, but there is a possibility that some parts of the stitch will not be completely dissolve.

What do dissolvable stitches look like? What are dissolvable stitches made of? Different types of materials are used in producing dissolvable stitches. Let us take a look at the different types of dissolvable stitches.

Catgut absorbable suture

It is made from purified collagen tissues of the intestines of cows. It is perfect for immediately regenerating tissues. Some places permit the use of catgut in humans while others use it in vet operations. Catgut is classified into two: plain and chromic.

Plain catgut provides wound support for seven to ten days while chromic provides wound support for 17 to 21 days. Catgut is perfect for soft tissues such as subcutaneous fat, peritoneum, and closure and ligation of the uterus. (7, 8)

Hincryl absorbable suture

It is perfect for obstetrics and gynecologic procedures. Hincryl is used in hesterectomy, especially in closing the vaginal vault after uterus removal. It is also used in closing the uterus after delivering a baby in cesarean section.

Hincryl absorbable suture is also useful in general procedures like closing of muscles of the abdominal wall, closure of the chest wall, and repair of ventral an incisional hernias. It is also useful in pediatric procedures and plastic procedures. (9)

Hinglact 910 absorbable sutures

They are used for soft tissues, ophthalmic procedures, ligation, and surgery involving the urinary tract. They are also useful in general surgeries.


It is a synthetic monofilament absorbable suture. It is used for soft tissue approximation and ligation. It is ideal for microsurgery and ophthalmic procedures. It is also used in gastrointestinal suturing. (10)

There are other types of absorbable or dissolvable stitches, but the ones mentioned above are the commonly used. There are a few variations depending on the brands but their functions are most likely the same.

Can I make dissolvable stitches dissolve quicker?

Having stitches in the body can be very discomforting. The body treats it as a foreign object. Most likely, patients would find a way to make the stitches dissolve the quickest possible way. Dissolvable stitches usually dissolve within seven to ten days after the surgical procedure.

However, the duration varies from one person to another. It also depends on the location of the wound, thickness of the sutured skin, and the overall condition of the patient. From a medical standpoint, it is improper to make dissolvable stitches dissolve quicker.

If you do so, there is a tendency that the wound will not completely heal increasing the possibility of re-opening the wound. Allow natural healing and let the stitches loosen on its own. (2, 5, 7)

Taking care of dissolvable stitches

  • Keep the stitches clean at all times. When cleaning, you should start at the center of the incision and move your way out. Do not scrub or put pressure on the incision.
  • If you see scabs on the sutures, do not attempt to remove them. Scabs are a sign that your wound is already on its healing phase. You might be tempted to remove the scab but doing it won’t help. You should not pick your scab. (5, 8, 9)
  • Wash the incision using gentle soap and clean water.
  • Do not apply any creams or ointments unless instructed by your doctor.
  • Avoid swimming and other strenuous activities until your wound is fully healed.
  • Check your incision regularly and watch for any signs of infection. If you notice any unusual changes, then you should inform your doctor right away. This is to treat and prevent secondary infection. (4, 10)


  1. science.howstuffworks.com
  2. www.nhs.uk
  3. woundcaresociety.org
  4. www.wonderpediamagazine.co.uk
  5. www.dolphinsutures.com
  6. www.verywell.com
  7. https://healthunlocked.com
  8. www.theguardian.com
  9. www.chemistryislife.com
  10. www.dentalfearcentral.org

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