MORE MONDAY MYTHS: Stitches ALWAYS Need to be Removed

Is it true that all stitches need to be removed?

For years, skin sutures (stitches) or skin staple closures needed to be removed after cosmetic surgery.   Some surgeons still use removable skin sutures or skin staples to shorten the duration of surgery by quickly closing incisions using these older techniques.  With the advent of modern absorbable stitches and surgical skin glue, which are FDA approved, the combination makes removing stitches a thing of the past in my office.

Absorbable stitches are simply absorbed by the tissue.   Surgical glue is similar to “Superglue” and is now being used to close small skin cuts, lacerations (tears in skin) and surgical incisions.


How does surgical glue work?  It is applied by an applicator to the skin. Once it comes into contact with the skin, the glue hardens rapidly and holds the edges of skin together so the skin can heal.

I prefer to use surgical glue and absorbable stitches for several reasons.   I have found that patients really dread the removal of any skin closure device.   It is just stressful to remain still while someone picks at a tender incision to remove sutures or staples.   I also believe that surgical glue most often provides the least visible scare after healing.   And finally, skin glue seals the incision.  The adhesive material in DERMABOND ® or INDERMILlâ„¢ forms a strong microbial shield to protect wounds while they heal.  Some believe this actually reduces the risk of infection and yields a better overall scar, as well.   The surgical glue also does away with the need for most of the bulky dressings of the past, making recovery easier for the patient to manage. The glue just washes off in the shower within about two weeks.

Surprisingly, many of my patients are unaware of these new methods and I’ve never had anybody come to the office and ask about glue having replaced stitches.   However, certainly no one has missed out on the stress of having stitches or staples taken out.




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