My stitches are out!

October 22, 2021 • 10:15 am

I had no idea that stitch removal was absolutely painless. I thought they’d have to slide the stitches back through the wound, which might hurt, but no: they just cut the stitch knots and use tweezers to pull out the threads.  So it took only a short while to remove my 18 stitches this morning.

(Earlier posts detail my accident and then the initial stitching.)

Here’s the before this morning, after the dressings were removed. I had two gashes, you might recall, and you’ll see, compared to the earlier shots, they’ve healed up nicely in nine days.

After stitch removal, they lightly covered the gashes with 3M “Steri-Strips,” which I’m to wear until they fall off (a few days). Until then, I still have to shower with a plastic bag over my hand and then apply Neosporin.

I have to say that the two women who took care of me, the physician’s assistant who so carefully stitched me up (she said that good stitching is a work of art) and the nurse-practitioner who removed the stitches, were both very careful and also informative and personable. I had good treatment at the U of C emergency room, even though there was a wait. (Some people have to wait up to 15 hours in the ER, I’m told! I got treated after two hours because I was bleeding like a stuck pig.) Kudos to the stitcher, initials AT, and if she sees this I’d like to thank her by email and show her the outcome.

28 thoughts on “My stitches are out!

  1. I had some minor surgery (on chest near right shoulder) and several stitches. The doctor was setting up an appointment to remove them when I asked if I could do it myself. He said “Sure!” and handed me a small kit. Told me when to do it. It’s not a bid deal and didn’t hurt a bit. Some people get freaked out y stitches, I guess.

  2. They always leave the nasty jobs to the assistants. Any surgeons around to take care of this type of emergency. No, they haven’t even parked the Mercedes and left the car. In many small town hospitals they don’t even have a full doctor there in the emergency area. They have an ARNP or something like that running the show. The MD cannot be bothered and is likely out on the golf course.

    1. The PAs and NPs can be paid less also…and cost the patient (and/or the insurance company) less. To be fair, though, if someone came to my office with a minor injury, I did the stitching myself, as I also did incision and drainage of abscesses and skin biopsies and whatnot, but Emergency Room docs and NPs and PAs all have assigned roles, of sorts. The U of C Hospital is pretty busy, I think, so you definitely want things as efficiently run as possible, and it’s in the South Side of Chicago.

      1. Yes, I know a hospital in Chicago or even Omaha is not like the hundreds of hospitals in small towns all over the country. And by the way, all those small towns do not attract a lot of MD s from Harvard or Yale either. What you do is get on your horse or in your car if you need anything more serious than a cut.

  3. I have to admit to being surprised that this is apparently the first time you had stitches, since you didn’t know they don’t hurt when removed (unless they are in some particularly sensitive and tough area). Perhaps I just grew up in a bad neighborhood or something, but my first stitches happened when I was in kindergarten I think, and I’ve had them on several other occasions since. Actually, maybe I’m just clumsy/stupid…which is not an unreasonable hypothesis.

    Congratulations, though, and the PA and the NP involved do seem to have done wonderful work (which, in my experience, is nearly always the case with Nurse Practitioners and Physicians’ Assistants).

  4. Glad things worked out. Removing stitches is easy. I’ve done it myself to avoid the trip and wait at the doctor’s office. I recently offered my stitch-removal services to my wife, who hit her forehead on a door-jamb, but she rejected me, as I knew she would. Actually, I wouldn’t have done it as she’s worried about the scar.

    1. If you are afraid of the ‘ladder’ in scars, you xan use a continuous subcutaneaous one. Very nice scars.

      The difficult ones are those cases where you have to stitch small arteries or nerves in fingers, or tearducts or corneas. That generally needs a microscope.

  5. I have had had good and bad experiences with stitches. One set were in so deep that I had to be given mild sedation so that they could be removed. Others were painless.

    Staples, however, bloody well hurt when they came out!

  6. Glad that you healed without incident. Proper medical care is important, particularly as we age. I have always thought that having to wait in the ED for my turn was ok…it meant that their triage process had determined that I was not in any immediate danger…just in need of some attention. I like being attended to by RN’s, PA’s, and NP’s as they get a lot of hands on practice.

  7. Glad to see you’re on the mend! Suturing is an art – not only with alignment of tissue, but size/symmetry of suture bites, space between bites, tightness of the suture, etc. All have a direct impact on whether tissue remains vital, and end appearance. She did a great job 🙂

  8. I agree with the comment your nurse made about good suturing being an art form. I enjoyed doing it neatly (maybe, Randall Schenck, because I didn’t have a Mercedes to park, just a rusty old truck as rural Canadian docs get paid peanuts), and particularly liked doing a continuous locked stitch for long chainsaw cuts (everyone here is in forestry, farmin’ or fishin’).
    Surprised you got them out so soon, as the rule of thumb(!) is that sutures in the hand or foot stay ten days as the thick skin takes longer to heal.

  9. So happy to see you’re doing well! My husband had a nasty glass cut in his hand several years ago — a tiny shard of glass went into his palm when he was laying glass tile in our bathroom. He had to have surgery and the doctor apparently missed a bit of glass, and after a while his hand had swollen to twice its normal size so that he had to go through the whole business all over again. So, I’m very pleased to see that you had an excellent outcome and will no doubt recover quite nicely. I always thought the folks at the U of C hospital were terrific. To your good health!

  10. You could have asked me what stitch removal feels like Jerry! You’ve probably forgotten I had a whole heap in my back though as (almost) no one ever sees them because they’re under my clothes.

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