Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are stitches painful?"
My son is getting his stiches taken out. Will this hurt? Can I take them out myself? He would prefer that.
As a general rule the placement and removal of stitches are less painful than the injury itself. The placement of stitches is always done with local anesthesia. This is a medication such as lidocaine that is injected into the skin to dull the nerves that send pain messages. This makes it so the person getting the stitches cannot feel the needle going into the skin, or the suture material when the stitches are tied. Suture removal is even more simple and painless. No local anesthesia is used. The stitch is cut at one end and pulled through to the other side. While some patients end up removing their stitches at home, this is not what I would recommend. In general, the doctor that placed the stitches should be the one to remove them. This can be tough if it was at the emergency department because those doctors work shifts. If you remove the stitches yourself, you run the risk of having one of the stitches get caught under the skin without the right tool to get it out. Plus, if the wound breaks back open, you won't have the ability to re-stitch if necessary. I suggest that you schedule an appointment for your son with his primary care doctor. He or she can remove the stitches and you can be sure that it is done correctly and with as little discomfort as possible.
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