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Caring for Stitches After a Cosmetic Procedure

After your cosmetic surgery, you'll be sent home with stitches, also called sutures. You'll have these stitches for at least a few days depending on your situation and the part of the body involved in the surgery. It's extremely important to follow your surgeon's instructions on how to care for the site to ensure proper healing and minimal scarring.

How to Ensure Proper Healing

  • Avoid water or other moisture for the first 24 hours.
  • After that time, you can begin washing the area up to two times each day very gently with soap and water.
  • Your surgeon can prescribe an antibiotic ointment. You should apply this to the site after washing.
  • You will need to have your stitches removed on the day your surgeon chooses. It's very important to do this, because leaving the stitches in longer can cause unnecessary scarring.

Warning Signs

  • Redness that goes beyond the basic edge of the wound.
  • Fever over 100 degrees -- a sign of infection.
  • Any unusual coloring or discharge, including pus.
  • Unusual tenderness or swelling. Remember, you will experience the most tenderness on the second day, but it should become less each day thereafter. If this is not happening, contact your doctor.
  • Stitches that come out sooner than expected. If this happens, contact your doctor immediately.

Even after you have your stitches removed, you must keep caring for the site with an ointment or cream that your surgeon recommends. Protect the site from the sun and any unnecessary stress/injury for at least four weeks after the stitches are removed.

If you have stitches that dissolve, make sure you understand exactly when they should dissolve and how to care for the site during and after that period.

WebMD Medical Reference

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