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Stitches! Sometimes they spit & pop and have to go

Updated: Jan 9

Incisions can be closed with a variety of stitching techniques and materials. Some are meant to be removed, like external stitches or staples. Internal stitches are typically meant to dissolve over time. Dissolvable stitches are made from materials that your body should be able to break down.

We know that all bodies react differently and problems can arise when the body's immune system does not attack and dissolve the stitches as expected. It's not normally a major issue but the stitches can begin to "Pop or Spit" out like the body is rejecting them.

Often it will start almost like a small raised bump along the incision line and then almost look like it needs to be popped like a pimple. Sometimes it's small and just one stitch, other times it can be multiple areas along the incisional line. You may even see the stitch sticking out of the skin.

You should inform your surgeon when you see anything out of the ordinary like a stitch popping. The doc may not be too concerned as it's fairly common and easily removed.

You can help to break the stitch down by keeping it covered and it may work itself out and just require a little snip and tug to get the rest of the stitch to come out. Once the stitch is out it may have a small open hole. This small wound should resolve fairly quickly if the exposed tissue is pink/red in color and minimal drainage is present. Wounds heal faster when covered so use either a bandage alone if it's small or just a tiny dab of ointment like bacitracin, TAO or Medihoney ointment will be just fine.

If there are signs of infection like pus, drainage, pain, odor or the wound continues to open and show lots of yellow/green slough, then you absolutely should call your surgeon, primary care doctor or get into an urgent care facility to start antibiotics and get a medical workup to prevent further tissue damage. It is not a recommended practice to re-stitch up infected tissue and you will likely be left open to close with dressing care.

Here's a video about removing stitches if you don't live close enough to your doctor or they tell you to take them out yourself. I do recommend wearing gloves especially if you are doing this on anyone besides yourself however, the information is good and easy to follow.

Links to products you might find useful to have when you remove stitches.

image of arm being wrapped in gauze

If you have a small opening starting, feel

free to send a picture either through the helpline on this page or message directly where ever you are finding this info.

For a more extensive opening consider booking a wound consult for help developing a plan especially if you do not have a local wound specialist to guide you.

Also take a peak at the DIY programs you can work on from home to improve healing.

Love to help folks heal and appreciate your support and sharing this information!

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