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Plastic Surgery Blog

Why Caring for Your Stitches Is So Important


Many cosmetic procedures require incisions, and if those incisions are deep enough, the skin will need stitching to heal. Your surgical procedure is the first part of the process. Proper healing, the second part of the process, is as vital to a good result as the surgery itself, and that depends on you. Dr. Bancroft and Dr. Feldman will use their training and skill to affect a successful surgery, but if you do not follow your post-operative instructions, including caring properly for your stitches, your body may pay the price.

What Are Stitches?

Stitches are surgical sutures that hold your tissues together so that your body can heal itself and make that tissue whole again. With minor scrapes and scratches, skin will repair itself without medical intervention, but if the wound is deep, as incisions often are, the skin or tissues will not connect enough to heal without a large or obvious scar. Sutures or stitches literally bridge the gap to a better and fuller healing.

Stitches are made of various materials. Some of them are designed to dissolve by themselves. Others have to be removed after the skin is done healing.

Why Is Caring for Your Stitches Important?

Stitches help minimize the risk of infection. An open wound is an invitation to bacteria. It's important to keep your stitches dry because a moist environment breeds bacteria, and bacteria in an open wound is always a bad thing. That's why your doctor will give you instructions on how to clean and dress your incisions and how you are allowed to bathe during the days and weeks after your procedure.

It's also important to rest and refrain from activity until your body heals. If you overdo it with work or exercise, you could pull your stitches which would put you at risk for infection. Pulled stitches also means more scarring. It's our goal at Bancroft Feldman to minimize scarring in whatever ways we can.

After your surgery we will go over specific instructions for your post-surgical care. These instructions will vary based on which surgical procedures you have had. You need to follow all of them strictly. If your stitches pop or break, if you experience a fever higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or if you see red streaks on the skin near your incisions, you should call Bancroft Feldman's office immediately. We will get you in to see your doctor and address the problem.

Most patients do take their healing seriously and follow their post-surgical instructions. This involves much more than just stitches care, although the care of stitches is important. The end result of following all instructions is a better body silhouette. Most patients would agree that the extra effort is worth it.

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