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How To How to Remove Surgical Sutures

From Kathy Quan ,

Here's How To How to Remove Surgical Sutures:

  1. Check the health care practitioner's order for surgical suture removal. Assemble your tools and wash your hands.
  2. Identify your patient. Assess the wound for appropriate healing and any signs of infection. If any infection is apparent, or healing seems inadequate, contact the MD before proceeding.
  3. Cleanse the wound with an antiseptic cleanser, (see your facility's protocol) to remove any dried blood, and loosen any scar tissue. Explain the procedure to the patient. They might feel a slight pinch or pull as the suture is removed, but it should be painless.
  4. Using sterile forceps with your non-dominant hand, gently lift the suture at the knot. Using surgical suture scissors, clip the thread as close to the skin as possible. Lift the suture out with the forceps. Gently tug on the suture to remove if needed. zSB(3,3)
  5. Assess healing as you remove each stitch. You can remove each stitch in succession, or skip every other one until you reach the end and then return to the top and remove the rest of them.
  6. When all of the sutures have been remove, reswab the area with antiseptic.
  7. Apply adhesive strips, steri strips, or a dry dressing as needed per MD orders. Remove gloves and wash your hands.
  8. Document the procedure and include description of how well the patient tolerated the procedure, any drainage, redness, bleeding. (i.e. 10 sutures removed from patient's left arm skin tear. No bleeding, redness or signs of infection present. Edges are well approximated. Area was swabbed with normal saline prior to and after suture removal. 5 steri strips applied. Patient tolerated procedure without complaints. Reinforced safety instructions to prevent re-injury.)

How To How to Remove Surgical Sutures Tips:

  1. Different parts of the body heal at different intervals. Common time to remove stitches will vary: facial wounds 3-5 days; scalp wound 7-10 days; limbs 10-14 days; joints 14 days; trunk of the body 7-10 days.
  2. If you snip the suture as close as possible to the body, minimal suture will be pulled through. This reduces the pinching/pulling sensation for the patient. It also reduces the possibility of introducing infection being pulled through on the sutures.
  3. Not all stitches must be removed. If a small area remains unhealed, notify the health care practitioner. Then if ordered, remove sutures from the healed area only.

What You Need to Remove Surgical Sutures:

  • Surgical Suture removal kit
  • Surgical gloves
  • antiseptic
  • steri strips
  • Surgical dressing suplies
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