What to Know About C-Section Stitches Dissolve Time (2023)

I know it’s not all that long ago that I had my second c-section; it feels like it. Trying to think back, I can’t recall the c-section stitches dissolve time. My husband can’t remember either, though this is someone who can’t remember where he put his keys when holding them.

Anyway, if your c-section stitches are not dissolving, don’t worry. I’ll cover why your dissolvable stitches are not dissolving and what you can do about it.

As for me, I think mine were the dissolvable type. I do not even remotely recall having anything else removed. And while I was sore for a month, at my 6-week postpartum checkup, the doctor was pleased with my recovery and her handiwork. She earned her bragging rights…you can’t even see my scar now unless you REALLY look for it.

Do c-section stitches dissolve?

Now here’s something I didn’t know until after my first c-section. You get 2 incisions. Yup! They cut through your abdomen, and then they cut open your uterus.

As such, your doctor will need to close both of those openings.

They cut 7 layers to reach the baby. Here are those.

What to Know About C-Section Stitches Dissolve Time (1)

For the interior, dissolvable stitches are always used. Because they’re not going to slice you open again just to remove them, are they? Of course not! That would be idiotic!

A sigh of relief…

These dissolvable stitches are designed from materials your body can easily break down. It will take them time to dissolve, but they will.

But for your abdomen, it will depend on what your doctor uses. Some will use surgical staples. Others use non-dissolvable stitches that you’ll have to have removed though it does take longer, about 30 minutes after birth, to finish sewing you up. And others will use the kind that dissolves, so you won’t have to worry about a thing.

There is evidence stitches result in fewer complications, though, so it might be worth it to get stitched back up again. You’ll have both options removed a week after by visiting your doctor’s office. And no, it doesn’t hurt!

Surgical glue is another option. They apply it over the wound to create a protective covering. This gradually peels away as your wound heals up.

I recommend speaking to your doctor about c-section stitches, staples, and glue. This is especially important for those planning a c-section though some of you may have an emergency c-section you weren’t planning. It might not be a bad idea to ask how they will close you up if that happens and express your preferred choice.

How long do c-section stitches take to dissolve?

A couple of days after you give birth, your internal stitches will dissolve. Do not worry, as they don’t need to be removed. As the external stitches aren’t the dissolving type, they will be removed either on day 4 or 5 at the hospital or, if you’ve been discharged, at your doctor’s office. For dissolvable stitches, they should dissolve within a week.

What to Know About C-Section Stitches Dissolve Time (2)

As for staples, those will most likely be taken out at the hospital. And while they may look gross and scary, they will not hurt. You may feel a slight tugging sensation, but you will not feel pain.

A midwife can also help remove the external staples, even if you’ve already gone home.

Anyone who has a vaginal birth with tearing or had an episiotomy uses dissolvable stitches for that. They will dissolve within a few weeks, so you won’t need to remove them but if you have questions, ask your doctor.

As for steri-strips or glue, they should fall off on their own. If not, you can peel them up a week after your surgery, depending on your doctor’s advice. Always check first.

Regardless of what has been used to seal you back up, ask your doctor what will happen. Then you will know what to expect with what they have used on you.

When do internal stitches dissolve after a c-section?

I know it’s weird because you can’t see them but trust me, these internal stitches will dissolve. The skin will start healing in about 5 to 10 days on the outside. But those internal stitches will take longer to heal, roughly 12 weeks before you feel completely like you did before giving birth.

That’s not to say you won’t feel better before then, but the internal area needs time to heal. This is why your doctor will tell you not to get pregnant again for at least a year after your c-section. The bare minimum would be 6 months, but you’re more prone to complications if you don’t wait it out.

Internal stitches will dissolve after a few days, even if the healing takes longer. And they don’t need to be removed.

So, how do you know if anything is wrong? Keep an eye on the external incision. Get medical attention immediately if you see redness, swelling, itching, pus seeping out, or you have a fever.

When are stitches removed after birth?

Stitches are usually removed 4 to 5 days after your c-section surgery. It will not hurt, so don’t be alarmed. If you have concerns about your stitches or sutures, make sure you address them with your doctor.

And if you have dissolvable stitches on the outside, you shouldn’t have to worry at all. They will dissolve on their own after about a week. You won’t even see them if you notice signs of an infection. Get to the doctor right away.

How do you know if you need to get them removed? Your doctor should TELL you about this. But if not, or you can’t remember if they did, ask before you’re discharged. They will let you know what follow-up is required.

How are stitches removed after a c-section, and does it hurt?

It does not hurt to have your stitches removed for a c-section or anything requiring stitches, FYI. They will use sterilized surgical scissors or tweezers to pull up and remove the stitches gently. You won’t feel a thing, perhaps maybe a slight tugging, but really that’s it.

What to Know About C-Section Stitches Dissolve Time (3)

As for staples, it may pinch if embedded slightly in your skin, but it won’t hurt, I’m told by my friends who had staples.

Incidentally, you should heal up the same whether you have staples, stitches, or glue. An Italian study found there were no overall differences in the cosmetic results.

The only real difference is in skin color; women with darker skin are more likely to get the raised scars known as keloids. Additionally, women with certain medical conditions like diabetes, for example, and smokers may have a poorer way of healing than others.

Again, if you have a preference or a concern, discuss it with your doctor. Traditionally, surgeons would choose staples because it’s much faster, but many choose absorbable sutures since it means they don’t have to remove them. So that’s easier for you and the doctor.

C-section stitches not dissolving in 3 weeks; what to do now?

If you’ve received absorbable stitching externally, your c-section stitches should dissolve in a week or 2 on the exterior. You likely won’t even see them.

The dissolvable stitches should dissolve or even fall out on their own during that time. But if you see them still there at 3 weeks, call your doctor’s office.

Don’t do it as tempting as it may be to rip them up yourself. You could infect the area. Instead, call your doctor and let them know. They’ll likely have you come in so they can inspect the area and remove the stitches.

And if your c-section scar hurts years after, it’s known as incisional endometriosis. This is when tissue builds on the scar and causes painful adhesions. If you feel pain after a year, you should discuss it with your doctor to find its cause and take care of it.

Final thoughts on c-section stitches…

The best thing you can do with your c-section stitches is to find out about them. Some of you will be like me, rushed in for an emergency c-section. I sure hope not, but it does happen.

And when it does, you won’t have time to ask how they’re stitching you up. Afterward, though, ask all the questions. They will review how to take care of your c-section incision and if or when you need to come in to remove the materials.

If anything is unclear, ask! This way, you’ll know what to do no matter what!

Also, if anything ever feels weird, you notice infection signs, or anything else, don’t hesitate to inquire. So many new mamas feel like they’re asking stupid questions, but you’re not.

This stuff can be scary, and if it’s your first time doing it, you won’t know what’s normal and what isn’t. Asking questions will help you determine if what’s happening to you is following the right course or if you need to see the doctor.

What to Know About C-Section Stitches Dissolve Time (4)

Leslie Berry

Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.

She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.

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  • Recover Better After a C-Section: Take Care of Those…


What to Know About C-Section Stitches Dissolve Time? ›

Dissolvable stitches will usually disappear on their own in 7-10 days. Non dissolvable stitches may be removed at 5-7 days after being assessed by the midwife that they are ready to come out. During this time you may see small pieces of stitch material poking out of the healing scar - do not be tempted to pull these.

What helps dissolvable stitches dissolve faster? ›

Care tips
  • showering according to the doctor's instructions.
  • patting the area dry gently after showering.
  • keeping the area dry.
  • changing any dressings as and when the doctor advises.
  • avoiding using soap on the area.
  • refraining from taking baths or swimming until the wound heals.
May 28, 2019

What happens if dissolvable stitches don't dissolve? ›

Let your doctor know about your concerns. Also, ask your doctor how long the dissolvable stitches are designed to remain intact for your specific procedure. If more time than that has passed, they may recommend you come in to have the stitch snipped or can let you know if you can remove it yourself.

What makes dissolving stitches dissolve? ›

‌Absorbable sutures are stitches made from materials that the body can naturally absorb over time. They're made of materials such as the fibers that line animal intestines or artificially created polymers that easily dissolve into the body.

How long do dissolvable stitches take to break down? ›

Dissolvable stitches are stitches that dissolve as your body heals. They do not need to be removed. Most will begin to dissolve after a week or two, though some may take up to a few months to completely disappear.

How long do dissolvable stitches last after C section? ›

Dissolvable stitches will usually disappear on their own in 7-10 days. Non dissolvable stitches may be removed at 5-7 days after being assessed by the midwife that they are ready to come out.

Are dissolvable stitches still in after 4 weeks? ›

The time it takes for dissolvable or absorbable stitches to disappear can vary. Most types should start to dissolve or fall out within a week or two, although it may be a few weeks before they disappear completely. Some may last for several months.

What if dissolvable stitches are not dissolved after 2 weeks? ›

Dissolvable stitches take approximately 6-8 weeks to fully dissolve. Occasionally the stitches on the surface of the wound do not dissolve and do have to be removed. If you have dissolvable stitches and they have not dissolved in two weeks you can arrange and appointment with your GP practice to have them removed.

Can dissolvable stitches stay in too long? ›

"Dissolvable stitches placed internally won't need to be removed," says Dr. Yaakovian. "They will break down and disappear on their own over time. As for permanent stitches placed on the outside of the skin, these are typically left in for about two weeks before being removed."

Can dissolvable stitches get infected? ›

Surgeons use stitches to close wounds to stop bleeding and promote healing. However, many patients suffer from intense pain or other problems related to their stitches. In fact, it is not unusual for stitches to become infected even though they are allegedly “dissolvable.”

What color are dissolvable stitches? ›

Dissolvable sutures are usually clear in color, and permanent sutures are dark blue or black in color. Since all sutures are technically “foreign substances” the human body has a tendency to reject them.

What are the stages of a stitches healing process? ›

The complicated mechanism of wound healing occurs in four phases: hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling.

Can you leave stitches in longer than 10 days? ›

These are the usual time periods: stitches on your head – you'll need to return after 3 to 5 days. stitches over joints, such as your knees or elbows – you'll need to return after 10 to 14 days. stitches on other parts of your body – you'll need to return after 7 to 10 days.

Are dissolvable stitches easy to break? ›

Dissolvable stitches break down because your immune system attacks them just like they would any other foreign body in your skin, like a splinter.

How can I make my stitches dissolve faster after giving birth? ›

Make use of ice packs.

Putting ice on your stitches can help heal your wound faster by easing inflammation. You can get ice packs that you can wear just like pads.

What is the difference between sutures and stitches? ›

Although sutures and stitches are often referred to as one and the same, they are actually two different things. Sutures are the threads or strands used to close a wound. “Stitches” refers to the actual process of closing the wound.

How do I know that my C-section is healing? ›

C-section scar recovery

Your wound will take about 6 weeks to heal. You will have a scar but this will fade over time. Your scar will be 10–20cm long and is usually just below your bikini line. It will be red at first but will fade over time.

Can I lay on my stomach 3 weeks after C-section? ›

Recovering from a C-section requires that you give yourself space and time needed to heal properly. This also means that some activities and behaviors may need to be avoided or adjusted until you're at least 6 weeks postpartum, you're fully healed, or your doctor has confirmed it's OK to do so. Avoid: stomach sleeping.

How far can I walk 3 weeks after C-section? ›

3 weeks post-cesarean delivery

After you've been home from the hospital for 3 weeks or so, you might be walking for up to 15 minutes, gradually building up the time if it feels good. Keep up your daily pelvic floor exercises too.

What if dissolvable stitches are not dissolved after 3 weeks? ›

They can take several weeks to dissolve. Occasionally stitches may not dissolve completely. If they are still bothering you, after the wound has healed, make an appointment with your practice nurse at your local GP surgery.

What is spitting stitches? ›

A spitting suture is a dissolvable suture under your skin that is rejected by your body before it can completely dissolve. These spitting sutures can cause swelling, redness and/or oozing at the incision. This is normal and will eventually go away on its own.

How do you know if your C section is opened inside? ›

If this has happened, you might be able to see some of the stitches or staples that are no longer in place. Your C-section might look like a fresh wound, with redness or bleeding. If your C-section opening is due to an infection in the area, you'll see signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus.

Is it normal to still have stitches 5 weeks postpartum? ›

It tends to take between 2 and 4 weeks for stitches between the vagina and back passage (perineum) to heal, but everyone is different and you may find it takes longer.

What happens if you leave stitches in for 2 months? ›

Leaving sutures in too long can leave skin marks. Sometimes, it can cause scarring. It also makes taking the sutures out harder.

How do you know when stitches are ready to come out? ›

It is essential that people do not remove their stitches until the wound has had sufficient time to heal. General guidelines on how long to wait before removing stitches are: 10–14 days for stitches on the body. 7 days for stitches on the head or neck.

Why put Vaseline on stitches? ›

If you have sutures (stitches): -Apply Vaseline or Aquaphor healing ointment to the sutured site 3-4x/ day for the next three to four days. The ointment will help the wound heal more quickly and minimize scarring.

How do you know if your body is rejecting dissolvable stitches? ›

In some cases an absorbable suture can be “spit out” if the body doesn't break it down. This happens when the stitch is gradually pushed out of the skin because the body is rejecting the material. Spitting sutures can feel like a sharp spot on the incision, and a small white thread may start emerging.

What does an infected dissolvable stitch look like? ›

redness or red streaks around the area. tender and swollen lymph nodes closest to the location of the stitches. pain when they touch the stitches or move the injured area. swelling, a feeling of warmth, or pain on or around the stitches.

Are my stitches infected or just healing? ›

Symptoms of infected stitches

an increase in pain or tenderness at the wound. warmth at or around the site. blood or pus leaking next to the stitches, which may have a foul odor. swollen lymph nodes.

What color is infected stitches? ›

Healthy skin is naturally acidic, but if a surgical site gets infected, that acidity decreases. When that change happens, Taylor's sutures go from a bright red to a grayish-purple color.

Do absorbable stitches turn white? ›

Generally absorbable sutures are clear or white in colour. They are often buried by threading the suture under the skin edges and are only visible as threads coming out of the ends of the wound. The suture end will need snipping flush with the skin at about 10 days.

What happens if a piece of stitch is left in the skin? ›

Most skin wounds heal without problems. But there can be an increased risk for infection if anything stays under the skin. Sometimes the pieces work their way out on their own, and sometimes they can cause an infection. Very small pieces that stay under the skin usually don't cause a problem or need further treatment.

What do healthy healing stitches look like? ›

Your wound may look red, swollen, and watery at the beginning. This can be a normal part of healing. The wound may have a red or pink raised scar once it closes. The healing will continue for months to years after this.

What is the lump under my scar after stitches? ›

A seroma refers to the accumulation of clear fluid under the skin, typically near the site of a surgical incision. A seroma usually forms after some type of reconstructive surgery, during which dead space is created. Seromas vary in size and presence of inflammation, but they typically appear as a soft, swollen lump.

What does a healthy healing incision look like? ›

You'll see some changes in your scar. It will go from looking thick, red, and raised to thinner, flatter, and more like your usual skin color.

Is 15 days too long for stitches to stay in? ›

In general, the greater the tension across a wound, the longer the sutures should remain in place. As a guide, on the face, sutures should be removed in 5-7 days; on the neck, 7 days; on the scalp, 10 days; on the trunk and upper extremities, 10-14 days; and on the lower extremities, 14-21 days.

Can stitches stay in for 11 days? ›

Stitches are often removed after 5 to 10 days, but this depends on where they are situated. Your doctor or nurse will advise you on the right time to remove your stitches. If the stitches are taken out too soon, the wound might not have healed properly.

Can I shower with stitches after 10 days? ›

After 48 hours, surgical wounds can get wet without increasing the risk of infection. After this time, you can get your stitches wet briefly with a light spray (such as in the shower), but they should not be soaked (for example, in the bath).

How do you stop dissolvable stitches from itching? ›

Some ways to relieve stitch itch include:
  1. applying an ice pack or cold compress.
  2. antihistamines like Benadryl.
  3. proper dressing and bandaging (speak with your healthcare team about how to care for your wound)
  4. keeping skin moisturized.
  5. protecting the wound from irritation with a covering or clothing.
Mar 22, 2021

Why are my stitches hurting? ›

The most common cause of surgical scar pain after surgery is a nerve that is injured or stuck in scar tissue. You may not only experience pain from scar tissue, but may also have swelling, itching, and increased sensitivity. Some common causes for surgical scar pain are: Tightness.

How long does stitches take to heal after C-section? ›

If you have stitches from a cesarean birth (C-section), these heal in varying degrees. The stitches in the skin should heal in 5-10 days. The underlying stitches in your muscle layer will take longer to heal. These won't completely heal for 12 weeks.

How many stitches are in a C-section? ›

Once the baby is delivered the uterus is closed with a double layer of stitching. Four of the five remaining layers are stitched with a single layer of stitching, but one layer is not restitched as it heals better – with no buckling and reduced chance of scar tissue developing, without restitiching.

How long do postpartum stitches hurt? ›

It is normal to feel pain or soreness for 2 to 3 weeks after having any tear. Here is more information about recovering from a perineal tear and looking after your stitches when you get home.

Which stitches are better for C section? ›

Caesarean section is a common operation with no agreed upon standard regarding certain operative techniques or materials to use. With regard to skin closure, the skin incision can be re‐approximated by a subcuticular suture immediately below the skin layer, by an interrupted suture, or by staples.

What material is used for sutures in C section? ›

The uterine incision is closed using an absorbable suture of number 0 or number 1. The commonly used suture materials are chromic catgut and polyglactin.

Why do surgeons use clips instead of stitches? ›

Surgical staples are used to close surgical incisions or wounds that are too big or complex to close with traditional stitches. Using staples can decrease the time needed to complete surgery and can be less painful .

Why do you put Vaseline on dissolvable stitches? ›

If you have sutures (stitches): -Apply Vaseline or Aquaphor healing ointment to the sutured site 3-4x/ day for the next three to four days. The ointment will help the wound heal more quickly and minimize scarring.

Does Vaseline help dissolvable stitches? ›

You can care for dissolvable stitches in the same way as non-dissolvable ones. Here's a quick summary: twice a day take hydrogen peroxide and dilute it with water. Apply this solution with a q-tip twice a day, then apply antibiotic ointment or vaseline.

Does warm salt water dissolve stitches? ›

If you received stitches during your surgical extraction, the stitches will dissolve on their own in about two weeks. You can rinse with warm salt water to help them dissolve. If they do not go away on their own, they may need to be removed by a surgeon or dentist.

What ointment is good for dissolvable stitches? ›

Your sutures are dissolvable (unless you have blue sutures, in which case you will come back to the plastic surgery clinic for removal. You may apply Bacitracin ointment (over the counter topical medication) to your sutures 2x/day for 1 week.

Should you moisturize dissolvable stitches? ›

If dissolvable stitches have been used, then after 7 days, and as long as the wound is closed with no oozing, you should lightly massage the suture line with a non-perfumed moisturiser to encourage the stitches to fall out. You need to apply the cream and massage at least twice a day.

What is the best thing to put on healing stitches? ›

After the first day, wash around the wound with clean water 2 times a day. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing. You may cover the wound with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a non-stick bandage. Apply more petroleum jelly and replace the bandage as needed.

Can I put Neosporin on dissolvable stitches? ›

Antibiotic ointment – such as Polysporin or Bacitracin. PLEASE DO NOT USE NEOSPORIN this contains neomycin which may cause an allergic reaction even if they have used it before without any problems. Non-stick pads – such as telfa, paper tape or any non irritating band aide that will fit over the incision site.

How can I make my stitches heal faster at home? ›

Methods for making a wound heal faster
  1. Antibacterial ointment. A person can treat a wound with several over-the-counter (OTC) antibacterial ointments, which can help prevent infections. ...
  2. Aloe vera. Aloe vera is a plant belonging to the cactus family. ...
  3. Honey. ...
  4. Turmeric paste. ...
  5. Garlic. ...
  6. Coconut oil.
Nov 26, 2020

Do dissolvable stitches leave a scar? ›

However, on the outside of the skin (where a scar can be visible) the inflammatory process that is required to “dissolve” a suture can cause unsightly scars.

What does salt do to stitches? ›

Results: The research shows that soaking 7% of table salt concentration can significantly accelerate the wound healing process compared to the control group, with a decrease in wound diameter on the 3rd day and completely heal on the 7th day.

How many stitches are in a C section? ›

Once the baby is delivered the uterus is closed with a double layer of stitching. Four of the five remaining layers are stitched with a single layer of stitching, but one layer is not restitched as it heals better – with no buckling and reduced chance of scar tissue developing, without restitiching.

When do you stop using peri bottle? ›

However, most postpartum people use a peri bottle for about a week after giving birth, when the vagina is still tender and sore. You may want to continue using a peri bottle after the first week or perhaps until the postpartum bleeding stops.

What do infected stitches look like? ›

Signs of infection

swelling. increased redness around the wound. pus or bleeding from the wound. the wound feeling warm.


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