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Old 12-07-2007, 09:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: exploring my new home in SF
can it hurt to leave stitches in for too long?

I recently cut my pinkie wide open washing a glass that broke with my hand in it. I went to the ER and got nine stitches on the outside of my finger. (totally wish I had a better story, but all I can think of is a knife fight haha)

the thing is that right afterwards I went on vacation (yay San Fran!). While I made sure that I didn't have any nerve damage (can feel the rest of my finger fine) I was not able to make a doctors appointment until next Wednesday. The doctor told me that the stitches should come out in 7-10 days and next Wednesday would make it 15.

The thing is that since the cut was so bad they will probably have to trim off some dead skin that has been healed underneath when the stitches come out. I'm a bit worried that they would be in too long but really not sure.

Any ideas?
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:27 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Just go to the your nearest hospital and explain it to them. Any doctor there should be able to look at your finger and see if the stitches need to come out and take care of that for you. You can still keep your regular appt with your doctor for a followup.
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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They should dissolve, shouldn't they? I was under the impression that most medical-grade stitches would dissolve in the body after a given amount of time.

The ones in my knee did, at least.
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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not all of them dissolve, only the ones used for internal suturing.
it shouldnt have any negative effect but it just might take a little extra effort to remove them as the skin grows in tighter with time.
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The longer the stitches are in, the more visible the scar will be. There should be no other detrimental effect.

Have you considered taking them out yourself? The dead skin will come off naturally as it drys out, and as long as new skin hasn't grown completely over the sutures, they are generally easy to remove. I grew up with a mom who is a nurse and a 'no-bullshit' dad. While they always took me to a doctor to get stitches put in, I've never had them removed by a professional. Well, recently I had 3 stitches from a biopsy and we removed them at home, but I'm married to a doctor. She also had be remove 6 sutures she had this summer on the bottom of her foot.
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah, I always take my own stitches out - why waste time at the quack's office?
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Old 12-07-2007, 10:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I agree- take them out yourself!

If you leave them in to long the skin will start to attach to them and it will be more diffilcult to take out. Believe me, I used to do this for a living!
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Old 12-07-2007, 11:06 AM   #8 (permalink)
Cautiously soaring
 
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Location: exploring my new home in SF
peace of mind I guess. I can and am able to take the stitches out but since the cut is really deep and I'm missing a bit of feeling right around the stitches I would rather get it checked on professionally. Thank you for the replies.
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Old 12-07-2007, 11:17 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Yeah... uh... don't be too manly and use your teeth or something.

Doctors are your friend.
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Old 12-07-2007, 02:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Nikki*
I agree- take them out yourself!

If you leave them in to long the skin will start to attach to them and it will be more diffilcult to take out. Believe me, I used to do this for a living!
Yeah. Have you ever seen a cable or something growing hrough a tree trunk? Same thing with your finger. You don't want the tissue growing around those stiches or you'll have the same, possibly painful situation.

Any doctor can take out the stiches. An emergency room will be very expensive. I'd just drop into a doctor's office some place and ask if they can take them out for you.
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Old 12-13-2007, 07:20 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I went to a doctor's office once to have stitches removed. The nurse tore off the plaster covering the cut, and the stitches came along as well. It hurt. And the scar ended up kind of ugly.

I take out my stitches myself nowadays.
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Old 12-14-2007, 08:16 AM   #12 (permalink)
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It absolutely can hurt to have non-dissolvable stiches in too long. Since they won't dissolve they will continue to bind/pull/cut as the tissue around it grows, moves, etc. Take 'em out yourself carefully if they've been in long enough or if you see redness have your physcian do it and also check for possibsle infection. Kinda touchy stuff with the littany of drug resistant infections floating around.
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