Are Tummy Tuck Stitches Dissolvable?

Image Source: Unsplash‍

Are you considering getting a tummy tuck and wondering about the aftercare process? One common question that many patients have is whether tummy tuck stitches are dissolvable. In this article, we will explore this topic to provide you with the information you need.

Tummy tuck surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the abdominal area to create a flatter and more toned appearance. The procedure typically requires the use of sutures, or stitches, to close the incisions and promote proper healing.

Types of Stitches Used in Tummy Tuck Surgery

When it comes to tummy tuck surgeries, different types of stitches may be used depending on the surgeon’s preference and the specific needs of the patient. The two main types of stitches used in tummy tuck surgery are dissolvable and non-dissolvable stitches.

Dissolvable stitches, also known as absorbable sutures, are commonly used in tummy tuck surgeries. These stitches are made from materials that break down naturally in the body over time, eliminating the need for removal. The most common types of dissolvable stitches used in tummy tuck surgery are made from polydioxanone (PDO) or polyglactin.

Non-dissolvable stitches, on the other hand, are made from materials that do not break down in the body and require removal after the incisions have healed. These sutures are typically made from materials such as silk, nylon, or polypropylene.

Dissolvable Stitches vs. Non-dissolvable Stitches

Now that we know the two main types of stitches used in tummy tuck surgery, let’s compare them in terms of their dissolvability and other characteristics.

Dissolvable stitches are designed to break down naturally in the body over time. This means that there is no need for a follow-up visit to have them removed, saving you time and discomfort. On the other hand, non-dissolvable stitches require removal, usually within one to two weeks after the surgery, depending on your surgeon’s instructions. This removal process is relatively quick and painless.

In terms of appearance, dissolvable stitches are often preferred because they are less noticeable and don’t leave behind any visible suture marks. Non-dissolvable stitches, on the other hand, may leave small marks or scars where they were placed. However, these marks are usually minimal and fade over time.

Pros and Cons of Dissolvable Stitches in Tummy Tuck Surgery

Dissolvable stitches offer several advantages when used in tummy tuck surgery. One of the main benefits is the convenience of not needing to have them removed. This eliminates the need for an additional visit to your surgeon’s office and reduces the risk of infection or other complications associated with suture removal.

Another advantage of dissolvable stitches is that they provide internal support during the initial healing stages. As these stitches break down, the body naturally forms scar tissue, which helps strengthen the incision area. This extra support can reduce the risk of wound separation or other complications.

However, it’s important to note that dissolvable stitches may not be suitable for all patients or all types of incisions. Your surgeon will evaluate your specific needs and discuss the best options for you. In some cases, non-dissolvable stitches may be preferred, especially for areas that require more tension or for patients with a history of poor wound healing.

How Long Do Dissolvable Stitches Take to Dissolve?

The length of time it takes for dissolvable stitches to dissolve can vary depending on several factors, including the type of suture material used and the individual’s healing process. In general, dissolvable stitches used in tummy tuck surgery can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to completely dissolve.

Polydioxanone (PDO) stitches, for example, typically dissolve within six to eight weeks. Polyglactin stitches, on the other hand, may take slightly longer to dissolve, usually between eight to twelve weeks. It’s important to follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding suture care and removal to ensure proper healing and minimize the risk of complications.

Proper Care and Maintenance of Dissolvable Stitches

While dissolvable stitches do not require removal, proper care and maintenance are still essential to promote optimal healing and minimize the risk of complications. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Keep the incision area clean and dry: Follow your surgeon’s instructions on how to clean the incision area. Avoid soaking in baths or swimming until your surgeon gives you the go-ahead.
  2. Avoid strenuous activities: During the initial healing period, it’s important to avoid activities that may put strain on the incision area. Follow your surgeon’s guidelines on when you can resume normal activities and exercise.
  3. Protect the incision area: Depending on the location of your incisions, your surgeon may recommend wearing a supportive garment or using special dressings to protect the area. Follow these instructions carefully.
  4. Watch for signs of infection: Keep an eye out for any signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, warmth, or discharge from the incision area. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your surgeon immediately.

By following these guidelines, you can help ensure that your dissolvable stitches heal properly and minimize the risk of complications.

Risks and Complications Associated with Dissolvable Stitches

While dissolvable stitches are generally safe and well-tolerated, there are some potential risks and complications to be aware of. These can include:

  1. Infection: Any surgery carries a risk of infection, and tummy tuck surgery is no exception. It’s important to keep the incision area clean and watch for signs of infection, as mentioned earlier.
  2. Allergic reactions: In rare cases, individuals may experience an allergic reaction to the suture material used. If you notice any unusual symptoms, such as excessive itching, rash, or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately.
  3. Wound separation: Although dissolvable stitches provide internal support during the healing process, there is still a risk of wound separation. Following your surgeon’s instructions regarding activity restrictions and wound care can help minimize this risk.

It’s important to discuss these risks with your surgeon before undergoing tummy tuck surgery. They will be able to provide you with more specific information based on your individual circumstances.

Alternatives to Dissolvable Stitches in Tummy Tuck Surgery

While dissolvable stitches are the most commonly used type of sutures in tummy tuck surgery, there are alternative options available. Non-dissolvable stitches, as mentioned earlier, require removal after the incisions have healed. However, these stitches may be preferred in certain cases, such as for patients with a history of poor wound healing or for areas that require more tension.

In addition to traditional sutures, some surgeons may also use adhesive or surgical glue to close the incisions. These alternatives can provide a more seamless appearance and eliminate the need for suture removal. However, they may not be suitable for all patients or all types of incisions, so it’s important to discuss your options with your surgeon.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tummy Tuck Stitches

  1. Will I feel the dissolvable stitches as they dissolve? No, you should not feel the dissolvable stitches as they dissolve. The process is gradual and usually painless.
  2. Can I remove the dissolvable stitches myself? No, it is important to let the dissolvable stitches dissolve on their own or have them removed by your surgeon if necessary. Attempting to remove them yourself can lead to complications and delays in the healing process.
  3. What should I do if I notice a suture coming out before it has dissolved? If you notice a suture coming out prematurely, contact your surgeon for further instructions. They may want to examine the area to ensure proper healing and address any potential issues.
  4. Will the dissolvable stitches leave scars? Dissolvable stitches are designed to minimize scarring, but some minimal scarring may still occur. Proper wound care and following your surgeon’s instructions can help promote optimal healing and minimize the visibility of scars.

As you embark on your tummy tuck journey, understanding the types of sutures used and their dissolvability is an essential part of the healing process. Dissolvable stitches are commonly used in tummy tuck surgery, providing convenience and internal support during the initial healing stages. However, non-dissolvable stitches may be preferred in certain cases. It’s important to discuss your options with your surgeon and follow their instructions regarding suture care and removal to ensure proper healing and minimize the risk of complications. By taking proper care of your incisions and following the guidelines provided, you can promote a smooth recovery and achieve the desired results.