ZocdocAnswersCan one pop a stitch from coughing?

Question

Can one pop a stitch from coughing?

I just had an appendectomy, and this morning I had a coughing fit after which the spot of the incision began to hurt very badly. Is it possible that I popped one of my internal stitches by coughing too hard? Should I go back to the hospital?

Answer

Bursting a stitch is always a risk after abdominal surgery. The things that can lead to a burst stitch are the actions which increase pressure in the abdomen. These include straining with bowel movements, lifting heavy objects, and strong coughing. The risk of popping a stitch is also higher if the incision is very large. The issue is complicated because these same actions will put pressure on the incision and cause pain in the healing tissue regardless of whether the stitch has popped or not. The appendectomy incision is relatively low risk because it is small. Therefore, if you do not see that the skin incision has opened or that blood or other contents are coming out, it is probably just that the coughing has caused pain. Of course if the symptoms do not get better with rest you should be evaluated. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your doctor or going in to the emergency room if symptoms persist might be advised.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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