What is Suturing & Stapling?
What is Suturing?
Suturing is a way that doctors close certain types of incisions, usually using needles and sutures to close the edges of the incision and knotting the sutures to hold them in place.
There are 2 main types of sutures:
Absorbable sutures – will gradually disintegrate and do not need to be removed.
Non-absorbable sutures – do not break down and need to be removed after a certain period of time.
What is stapling?
Doctors can also staple to close the incision. Use a stapler to staple staples (different from stapled paper) in. Staples, like nonabsorbable sutures, also need to be removed after a certain period of time.
How do I know if sutures or staples are needed?
Sutures or staples are required if the incision is wide, with uneven edges, or through the full thickness of the skin. The incision heals on its own, but sutures or staples can help speed up incision healing and reduce scarring.
Small cuts and abrasions that do not go through the full thickness of the skin do not require sutures. If a cut occurs and you don't know if sutures are needed, talk to your healthcare provider.
How is suture or staple done?
Debride the incision adequately before closing the incision, and use anesthesia so that sutures or staples are pain-free.
Use gauze or bandages after surgery.
Why is the care of sutures or staples important?
Sutures or staples must be cared for so that the incision heals adequately and does not become infected.
How should it be cared for?
The medical staff will give special orders based on the type and location of sutures. Staples require the same care as nonabsorbable sutures.
The following general recommendations can be followed:
-Keep sutures or staples dry and covered with bandages. Non-absorbable sutures and staples need to be kept dry for 1-2 days, and absorbable sutures sometimes take longer. The healthcare provider will tell you the exact amount of time the sutures should be kept dry.
-After you don't need to keep it dry, you can wash it gently with soap and water in the shower. Do not dispose of sutures or staples underwater, such as in a bathtub, pool, or lake. Excessive wetting of the affected area will slow healing and increase the chance of infection.
-After washing, pat dry and apply antibiotic ointment.
-Cover sutures or staples with bandages or gauze unless requested by a healthcare provider.
-Avoid activities or sports that could damage the affected area for 1-2 weeks. (The healthcare provider will tell you the exact time to avoid this activity.) If the affected area is injured again, the sutures can break and the incision can be opened again.
When should I seek medical attention?
Seek medical attention if:
-Broken sutures or re-opening of the incision.
-Redness and swelling around the incision, or the appearance of pus. It is normal for a clear yellow fluid to appear in the incision a few days after the operation.
When are sutures or staples removed?
The surgeon will inform the follow-up suture removal time. Nonabsorbable sutures are usually left in place for 5-14 days, depending on where the suture is being sutured; staples are used on areas such as the scalp, arms, or legs, and are usually left in place for 7-14 days.
Sometimes there is no staple remover for removing staples in the clinic. You need to ask the surgeon for it and bring it to the clinic when it is removed.
What to do after removing sutures or staples?
After removing sutures or staples, the scar should be protected from the sun by applying sunscreen or wearing clothes or hats that can cover the scar.
Your healthcare provider may also recommend certain lotions or creams to help with scar repair.