Suture Removal After Breast Augmentation or Tummy Tuck Surgery
Whilst some things stay the same in cosmetic plastic surgery, other things may change.
Suturing – the closure of a surgical incision or wound – is an area of the surgical detail that has evolved a lot in recent years. Surgeons can sometimes deliver microscopic threads for sutures that will leave less tell tale signs of an incision, but you must remember that all skin penetrating surgeries will leave a scar of some sort – even when you seek to minimise the scar through certain protocols such as Healite II, lasers or Collagen Induction Therapy. But many people have questions about sutures and if it hurts when you get your stitches taken out (suture removal) after a Breast Augmentation or Tummy Tuck Surgery. The good news is, that getting your sutures removed is often one of the easier aspects of the immediate post-op period of having breast implants or an Abdominoplasty surgery. Even eyelid surgery sutures are typically pain free when they get taken out by a seasoned Nurse or Surgeon.
When will your sutures be removed after your plastic surgery? Getting your stitches taken out – does it hurt?
If you get breast augmentation using breast implants, or a breast reduction or a tummy tuck procedure, you will have an incision that will need to be sutured securely whilst your tissues heal from your surgical procedure. And you WILL have a post-op appointment when you get your stitches taken out (unless you had fully dissolvable sutures).
Why do you need sutures in the first place?
The incision closure is performed using sutures – or staples as a way of suturing the tissues together – essentially, a surgical version of ‘sewing’ or connecting the tissues that help enable your skin and underlying tissues to heal properly – ideally in a semi-controlled manner.
Having incisions and proper wound care may also help protect your internal tissues from bacteria or infections.
When will your Breast Augmentation stitches be taken out after you get Breast Implants?
All incisions require care. Each procedure is also different and your surgeon will let you know when to return for your post-op visits and have your sutures removed (your stitches are taken out).
Whatever sutures that are used that are not absorbable, they will typically be taken out within approximately 7 days to a few weeks after your procedure (depending on what procedure you chose to have performed by your Specialist Plastic Surgeon).
An example of how sutures help wounds or surgical incisions heal is illustrated below. But there are many different types of suture approaches. It really does depend on what you’re having performed in terms of your surgery procedure, and your Surgeon’s preferences for that type of incision.
Examples: If you have implants, you will have an incision where the breast implant pocket will be created – as well as sutures (known more commonly as ‘stitches’) to help the incision heal and reduce scarring.
If you have a tummy tuck, you’ll have a scar along your lower abdomen area and potentially also near the navel area. The tummy tuck scar may be able to be hidden under swimwear, undergarments or clothing. But yes, you’ll have a scar – and you’ll have sutures to help the wound heal after surgery. Depending on how your body heals, how much swelling you have, what your post-op period is like and how the scar forms, you may be able to see visible marks where the sutures were (this is common) although over time these do tend to fade for many patients.
Cosmetic Surgery – what sutures will they use? Stitches and sutures in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
If you have cosmetic surgery with one of our Specialist Plastic Surgeons, the great news is that you’ll get excellent post-op care including suture removals and scar minimisation protocols at our Hawthorn East or Berwick locations.
Where required for some scars or incision points, a special scar minimisation protocol from your Surgeon’s colleagues at Coco Ruby Skin & Anti-Ageing can make a big difference in how visible the scars are or how rapidly and well they heal.
But some of scar healing is entirely up to you and your body, and will depend on how healthy you are in general and how much you follow post-surgery instructions in relation to caring for your incision area and sutures.
How does Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery and Coco Ruby Skin & Anti-Ageing Team help with scars, if needed?
From Healite II sessions to Dermapen to Fraxel options, there are many ways your Specialist Plastic Surgeon and his skincare team can help you reduce your incision scars, or prepare your skin for the surgery process – or stimulate skin healing afterwards – to help you heal a bit quicker after surgery. Just ask about this during your consultation! Not all surgical procedures require this type of scar minimisation care, but if you have a large scar or a skin type that might benefit from some of the latest minimisation techniques, our top Clinicians at Coco Ruby are available to assist you.
But what about the sutures? What types are there and how are what is good to know about types of stitches and removal of stitches or sutures after a cosmetic surgery procedure?
Suture removal is usually a welcomed part of the surgery process, as getting your stitches taken out means you are well on your way to healing.
That noted, you don’t want to get your sutures removed TOO early – you’ll need to have some patience until it’s time – and you’ll want to follow the specific wound-care and suture care advice given to you by your Specialist Plastic Surgeon and the Nursing team.
Read more below about the key types of sutures or stitches used in plastic cosmetic surgery including Breast Surgery (Breast Augmentation/Breast Implants, Removal and Replacement, Breast Reduction, Tummy Tuck and Facelift Surgery).
For the past several decades, new medical techniques and scar minimisation strategies have developed to the extent that Plastic Surgeons can perform very delicate surgeries and treat many different cosmetic issues and scars in ways that are very different to the past.
Cosmetic Surgery Stitches – First of all, what is a suture?
A suture represents the closing stage of your cosmetic surgery procedure. It is the closing of a wound or of a surgical incision (a cut using a sterile and very sharp surgical blade or in some cases, a laser or other method).
Sutures essentially are the ‘thread like’ techniques to “sew up skin incisions.” They can also be used in surgical repairs of different parts of the body, internally as well as the outer layer of your body (your largest organ, your skin). They can also be used to tie off blood vessels to prevent unwanted bleeding and encourage wound healing in some areas.
Sometimes a ‘staple’ type of wound closure is used and at other times, a surgical thread.
Suture(s) using threads can be created with the help of two different components: a surgical suture needle and a surgical type of thread known as a suture or ‘stitch’.
- All patients are different, but an ideal suture has some qualities that Surgeon’s consider before using:
- They should have a low incidence of possible tissue reaction (allergies)
- They should allow the ability for your surgeon to create secure knots (for durability)
- They should not cut through the skin or other tissues (they need to stay in place and do their duty to close the wound and aid the skin healing and scar formation, ideally a minimal scar when possible)
- They should help enable a healthy recovery after surgery.
Your Surgeon should also have the skills to consider the healing process of the incision, although there will always be some unpredictable variety in how each individual patient heals. Remember, no two patients are alike.
Three suture classifications for stitches after Cosmetic Surgery Procedures such as Breast Surgery or Face or Nose Surgery
Sutures can be classified based on (a) their usage, (b) type/production, (c) suture size (diameter). Your Surgeon can choose the best way for treating a specific wound or for the closing of an incision from your plastic surgery or plastic cosmetic surgery procedure.
Sutures – types of needles (what needles will your Plastic Surgeon use to stitch up the surgery incisions)?
There are also different sizes, shapes, and cross-sections for surgical needles. Ask your Breast Surgeon or Tummy Tuck Surgeon to show you some of the suture equipment or the early post-op photos of patients who’ve had these surgeries, if you’re really curious about what they look like. They may look very different to what you envision!
The main distinction of types of sutures or stitches is often based on their ability to be absorbed – or not absorbed – by the body.
Absorbable stitches need to be removed by your Surgeon or more likely, by your Surgeon’s Nurse, each with decades of experience performing this procedure of taking out your stitches after your face surgery, eyelid surgery, tummy tuck surgery, breast implant surgery or other cosmetic procedure.
The good news is that for most plastic surgery procedures and for many patients, getting your sutures or stitches removed after cosmetic surgery is rarely uncomfortable.
Removing your stitches after surgery might ‘tickle’ a little bit but it is rarely uncomfortable for most patients. Most patients find it to be one of the easier and more welcomed aspects of their initial few weeks of healing after surgery.
But here’s more to know about the suture types, themselves.
Absorbable vs. non-absorbable sutures
- Sutures can be either absorbable or non-absorbable.
- Absorbable suture(s) hold the tissues together while the body and skin heal then dissolve away.
The timetable for the absorption of the suture by your body depends on the material used for suturing although some other factors may have minor impact on this, and each patient may have a slightly different experience – but in general, there are ranges from a few days to a few months.
What are absorbable sutures made of – and are they natural, animal or synthetic (manufactured)?
Some absorbable sutures come from natural materials and others are manufactured.
For example, catgut (made out of the gut of cattle) sutures dissolve in just a few days, vicryl, in a few weeks, and PDS in a few months. Absorbable sutures depend in usage on the location of the wound or incision. For example, for sutures that are placed internally, it is more useful to use this type of material; otherwise, it would mean that the surgeon would need to reopen your external stitches in order to remove the internal ones.
Non-absorbable sutures are not dissolved by the body and will stay with you forever if the surgeon does not decide it is safe, after your incision has healed, to manually remove them. Usually, these sutures are made of synthetic materials and polymers like nylon, or polypropylene.
Monofilament and multifilament sutures
This type of suture classification is based on distinctions of a material structure.
Some suture materials (for surgery stitches) are braided (multifilament). They may be somewhat rough on the outside because they actually consist of multiple fibres that have been strewn or put together. Other sutures may be classified as monofilament suture materials, meaning they consist of a smooth, single thread.
A braided type of suture may provide better knot security, whereas a single thread suture may provide better passage through the tissues, and may also elicit a lower rate of potential tissue reaction.
It is possible that multifilament sutures may be more prone to infection.
- Suture techniques – how will your Surgeon close your incisions after a Tummy Tuck or Breast Implant Placement (or removal and replacement)? Or even an eyelid lift or facelift?
There are actually a few different ways your Specialist Surgeon can close up a wound or an incision made during surgery, than simply using a needle-type strategy and surgical thread (Suture materials).
Your surgeon will choose the best technique for you and for the type of incision being sutures. Regardless of the specific suture, there are three basic principles that apply to most sutures:
- the way the needle must be held by the person performing the stitching (suturing) of your incision
- the way the needle must be driven or manipulated during the process of creating sutures
- the knot placement (tying off the suture to keep it stable and secure until your wounds or incision heals).
The most commonly used sutures or suturing techniques are either (1) Simple Interrupted Sutures or (2) a Continuous Suture or continuous stitch.
- Simple interrupted suture. This type of suture provides a good aesthetic outcome for most uncomplicated wounds. Each new suture bisects the wound, preventing unequal edges and the “dog ear” effect. Subsequent sutures can be placed without wound edge retraction, as the edges come together. It is done by piercing only the dermis and epidermis layers and the two sides of the stitch are symmetrically placed.
- Continuous suture. This type of suture is actually an uninterrupted series of simple sutures. It is done much faster, because instead of cutting and tying the suture, the needle goes across the cut diagonally.
There are other types of sutures as well, including ‘staples’ and other options your Surgeon may elect to use for your particular surgery incision.
Knot tying is important in each suture technique, because if this is not done properly, of if something the patient does in the early stages of healing has an impact on the suture knot, it may affect the entire suture and incision.
In other words, it has to be done carefully and the patient should follow all post-surgery advice carefully – or they may end up in a rupture and need re-suturing after surgery.
Surgeons must know how to tie a knot that holds – a surgical suture knot that will help your incision or wound to heal properly.
Our Specialist Plastic Surgeons have decades of experience and expertise in incision planning, scar management and secure suturing methods; our Team is happy to answer your questions about how your sutures will be handled during and after your surgical procedure, and when you will likely return to the Clinic to have your stitches taken out (suture removal).
Types of sutures for closing an incision or skin wound: What’s best?
Many different types of sutures can be used but your Surgeon will use his expertise based on individually assessing what technique and suture material is going to suit your incision closure and help minimise the risk of an incision rupture and of a larger scar than desired. Remember, however, you WILL have a scar – but if you follow instructions carefully about looking after your wound, and not try to do too much too early – you can do a lot yourself to help keep your scars on the ‘skinnier’ side of scarring. Be realistic though – some incisions, such as a Tummy Tuck incision or a Belt Lipectomy, or other post-weight loss body contouring procedure scar, are rather extensive on the body. They can sometimes be hidden under types of under garments or clothing, swimsuits or higher-waisted clothing – but you will always have some tell-tale scarring after surgery.
If you are overly active too soon in the area of the incision, you may get a larger or more visible scar than if you take greater caution with your healing processes.
Again, getting a good plastic surgery outcome for breast implants, tummy tucks, facelifts or thigh lift and arm reduction surgery procedures does take patience as well as understanding precisely what you can do – and what you shouldn’t do – just after your cosmetic surgery procedure.
Why choose a reputable Specialist Plastic Cosmetic Surgeon like Dr Geoff Barnett (FRACS) in Melbourne?
Established, FRACS qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeons who operate in accredited hospitals know the importance of using instruments and sutures with a documented focus on proper sterilisation and sanitisation procedures as well as using non-allergenic, non-electrolytic materials and equipment when suited for that type of suture.
What you might gain if you have your surgery and sutures performed in a hospital, after an operation by a qualified Plastic Surgeon who’s a highly-respected expert in performing cosmetic and aesthetic plastic surgery procedures for men and women?
Potentially, with the right suturing environment, you may be able to reduce your risk of incision infections (although these are not always uncommon), especially where there is good sterilisation and monitoring processes in the hospital. You might also gain a chance to minimise potential scarring by having your sutures performed by a professional AND by having them treated by the Coco Ruby Skin & Anti-Ageing Team using Healite II or other methods for reducing scarring.
Find out more about how our Specialist Plastic Surgeons help patients to best manage their incisions, their sutures and their scars during the post-op healing phrase of a cosmetic breast, body, face or nose surgery procedure. For Breast Augmentation, Breast Reduction or Breast lift, Tummy Tucks, Eyelid Surgery and Facelifts or Nose Job procedures, or other specialty cosmetic procedures by a top Surgeon, Phone us today on 1300 264 811 or send an enquiry form to arrange a no-obligation appointment to discuss your plastic cosmetic surgery plans.
We look forward to seeing you at our Hawthorn East location, Berwick or our Williamstown location.
Visit our Downloadable Guides pages
For more information about Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery options and research in Australia.