Formula for Timely Suture Removal

April 1, 2004

Except for those on the face, sutures left in a few extra days pose little extra risk and are less likely to result in dehiscence. Remove sutures according to the following schedule:

•5 days: facial wounds.

•10 days: all wounds not included in the 5-, 15-, or 20-day categories.

•15 days: wounds under tension; on the lower extremities; or in patients who are elderly, take corticosteroids, have diabetes, or are at risk for delayed healing at distal sites.

•20 days: wounds in patients with multiple risk factors for dehiscence or slow healing.

— D. Brady Pregerson, MD
   Los Angeles