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Stitches after Cosmetic Surgery

November 12th, 2013

Is it true that all stitches need to be removed after cosmetic surgery?

In the past,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, the new technology makes removing stitches a thing of the past in my office. I find that by taking more time with incision closure during surgery, I can offer a better experience for my patients.

Absorbable stitches are simply absorbed by the tissue and replace the need for suture removal. Surgical glue is similar to “Superglue” and is now being used to close small skin cuts, lacerations (tears in skin) and as tissue closure for 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 very stressful for most patients 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  specialized surgical glue forms a strong microbial shield to protect wounds while they heal. There is a suggestion that the glue actually reduces the risk of infection. It also yields a better overall scar. The surgical glue does away with the need for most of the bulky dressings of the past, making recovery easier for the patient to manage. The glue simply washes off in the shower within about two weeks.

I’ve never had anybody come to the office and ask about glue having replaced the use of traditional stitches.  Surprisingly, many of my patients are unaware of these new methods and are pleasantly surprised at not having to worry about removal. It appears that none of my patients have missed out on the stress of having stitches or staples taken out.





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Reader Question: Drinking Alcohol Before Surgery

December 27th, 2012

Reader Question: I’m having surgery next week. Can I still have a cocktail to celebrate New Years Eve?

Pre-surgery instructions include many do’s and don’ts.  One of the most frequent questions I hear relates to alcohol use before and after surgery. I advise my patients not to have any alcoholic drinks (including beer and wine) for one week before surgery, also to refrain from having any alcoholic beverages for two days after  your surgery date and to not resume as long as you are taking prescription medications.

Numerous studies have been done about the effects and risks from alcohol and drinking prior to surgery. Alcohol interferes with anesthetic medicines and may contribute to excessive bleeding.   If you might have difficulty in complying with these restrictions, it is important to address your concerns with your physician prior to surgery.

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