Unfortunately, green stitches can be both dissolvable AND non-dissolvable because manufacturers just make them that way. There are three types of green sutures that we know of, one is absorbable and two are non-absorbable.
Typically, you can identify dissolvable and non-dissolvable stitches by their color BUT green ones are an exception. Their color gives no indication about its dissolvability since suture makers decided to reuse the same color for multiple materials…
Let us explain why that is the case and we’ll also give you information straight from the manufacturer.
Dissolvable green stitches
Yes, green stitches can be absorbable because polytrimethylene carbonate sutures (Maxon) are known to come in that color. Apparently it’s that color because it’s dyed green with DG #6.
If you wanted definitive proof, look no further than the specifications for this surgical product.
As you can see from the image of the specifications above, this material can come in a green or clear color. It also seems to dissolve rather slowly since it takes 180 days for absorption.
Non-dissolvable green stitches
We just showed you a dissolvable green stitch and now it’s time to show you two non-dissolvable ones. There are two suture materials which often come in a vibrant green color, nylon and polyester.
Unfortunately, neither of them are absorbable. They’re both synthetically made as well.
As an example, we’ll examine some Nylon sutures from Ethicon, which are non-absorbable but they come in a green color.
From the image above which was taken from Ethicon’s website, it shows that this nylon suture is both green and non-dissolvable. The absorption rate is listed as N/A.
Now we’ll examine some Polyester sutures from Ethicon, which are non-absorbable but they also come in a green color.
The image above was taken directly from their website. As you can see in the specifications listed, it is classified as having a green color and it does not dissolve.
We took photos of the polyester stitches on different backgrounds to show you their color. The packaging does label it as “green” although to be quite honest it looks more like teal which is a greenish-bluish color.
That should be more than enough evidence to convince you that this color can be non-absorbable.
How to figure out if they’re absorbable
Since the color green can mean that your stitches can be both dissolvable and non-dissolvable, you can’t rely on its appearance to tell. Therefore, the only way to tell is by calling your doctor and asking them if they’ll fall out on their own.
If they say that they will then it means that you don’t need to do anything for it. They’ll fall out in due time without any intervention from you.
However, if they say that they won’t dissolve, then you’ll need to return for a suture removal appointment. The only way to remove non-absorbable sutures is by physically cutting them.
What determines stitches dissolvability
Based on everything we’ve talked about above, we know that the color does not determine a stitches’ dissolvability. Whether or not they can be absorbed by your body actually depends on the material that they’re made of.
Dissolvable stitches materials:
- Gut sutures
- Polyglycolic acid
- Polytrimethylene carbonate
- Polyglactin 910
- Glycomer 631
- Polyglytone 6211
All of the materials above are synthetic except the gut sutures which are natural. They will dissolve either by hydrolysis or by proteolytic enzymes. Essentially if they’re made of one of the type of materials above, they can be broken down by your body.
You won’t be able to tell what material that they’re made of, only your doctor who put them in will know what they used.
In conclusion, you won’t be able to tell if your stitches are dissolvable if they’re green in color. There are both absorbable and non-absorbable suture materials that come in that color.
|Type of Suture||Color||Dissolvability|
|Polytrimethylene carbonate (Maxon)||Green||Absorbable|
If yours are green, you most likely won’t be able to figure out if they’ll fall out on their own purely based on their color. Unfortunately, the only person in this world who can tell you if your green sutures are dissolvable would be the person who put them in for you.