How To Identify Dissolvable Stitches By Color

Written & Reviewed by Dr David Chen

Everyone is curious about whether their stitches are dissolvable because if they are, they can avoid a second appointment for suture removal. Your doctor most likely told you if they were or weren’t but just in case, there is a way to figure it out on your own.

Purple stitches on stone tooth model

Every type of stitch, both dissolving and non-dissolving have a distinct color which you can use to identify them. Although it may not be the most accurate way of doing it, it does provide you a general idea of what they may be based on what they look like.

What color are dissolvable stitches?

Dissolvable stitches come in various colors like yellow, violet, green, and white but it depends on the type of material that it is made of. Different suture materials will have a corresponding color. Manufacturers have made it that way so that providers can have an easier time to identify what they are.

Below is a diagram showing the various different kinds of absorbable stitches and their color.

colors of absorbable and non-absorbable sutures
Credit: dolphinsutures

As you can see, each material has a corresponding color. The diagram even has non-absorbable sutures as well to give you an idea of the contrast.

If the colors are a little hard to differentiate in the schema above, there is an alternative way to identify the color. We’re going to provide pictures of each suture type in their box so that you can see what color they come in. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Note: Some of them do come in an undyed variation where they’ll look white. Also if they dissolve, they may change to an off-white color during the dissolution process.

Surgical gut or catgut

The color of gut sutures range from a light yellow to a darker gold/bronze color.

  • Fast absorbing gut – light yellow
  • Plain gut – yellow
  • Chromic gut – gold or dark yellow

This type of material is all natural because they’re made out of the intestinal lining of ruminant animals (cows, goats, sheeps). They also happen to be the most common type to be used for wisdom teeth stitches.

Chromic gut unboxing video

We’ve created a video to show you definitive proof of what color chromic gut sutures are.

The color of chromic gut sutures looks dark gold or dark yellow. You can even describe it as bronze in color. Nonetheless, the color looks very similar to what the color strip on the box is.

They are widely used in dentistry, especially if you’re going to have wisdom teeth removed.

Polyglycolic acid (Polysyn)

Polyglycolic acid or polysyn stitches have a violet color and they’re synthetically made but they’re still absorbable. The box labels them as violet braided coated.

PGA unboxing video

Here is another video where we open up a pack of purple stitches to prove to you their absorbability.

Polyglactin 910 (Vicryl)

Polyglactin or more commonly known as Vicryl sutures are typically violet in color but you can also call them purple. Although they are also available in an undyed color of white.

Polydioxanone (PDS)

Polydioxanone stitches (PDS) come in a deep violet color. For some reason the color on their box is grey but the suture itself is a dark purple. They do list it as a “violet monofilament” on the label to prevent confusion.

PDS - polydioxanone stitches

Polytrimethylene carbonate (Maxon)

Polytrimethylene carbonate sutures or otherwise known as Maxon, is green in color. Yes, the box color does have it has grey but we know for a fact that it is dyed by green DG#6.

maxon-suture-Polytrimethylene carbonate

Glycomer 631 (Biosyn)

Glycomer 631 or Biosyn sutures are VIOLET in color. The box is red but the actual color is violet according to Covidien.


Polyglytone 6211 (Caprosyn)

Caprosyn sutures can be either violet or come undyed.


Poliglecaprone (Monocryl)

Monocryl stitches typically come in a violet color but they can also be undyed.

How to figure out if your stitches are dissolvable

The best way to identify what you have is by comparing the color of your stitches to what we have listed in the previous section. If the color looks the same then that is probably what it is.

  1. Go to a well lit room.
  2. Take a picture with flash on with your cell phone or camera.
  3. Compare the taken photo with the listed dissolvable sutures.
types of sutures
Credit: medicshelf

Color chart of dissolvable stitches

Suture TypeColor
Polyglycolic acid (Polysyn)Violet
Polyglactin 910 (Vicryl)Violet or White
Polydioxanone (PDS)Violet
Polytrimethylene carbonate (Maxon)Green or White
Glycomer 631 (Biosyn)Violet
Polyglytone 6211 (Caprosyn)Violet or White
Poliglecaprone (Monocryl)Violet or White
Color chart for self-dissolving stitches

Alternatively you can always give your dentist a call and the receptionist can look in your notes to see what they used. If you don’t recognize the color of your stitches, you may have a non-dissolvable one.

Dissolvable sutures in the mouth

For the mouth, the most commonly used dissolvable stitches by dentists would be the chromic gut and vicryl. That means if you see a gold (chromic gut) or purple (vicryl) stitch, it most likely means that you have a self-dissolving one.

Stitches on stone tooth model
gold stitches on stone tooth model

If that is the case, you can expect them to last about 1-2 weeks in the mouth before falling out. If you have some other color, it could be a non-dissolving one.

Are you curious if there is a way to make them dissolve faster? There just may be…

Common wisdom teeth stitches color

The two most common colors for dissolvable wisdom teeth stitches are gold and purple. Although based on our experience, you’ll most likely have gold colored sutures rather than purple ones. That’s just the preference of the majority of dentists, including us.

purple stitches and gold stitches side by side
Purple and Gold dissolving sutures


The color of the dissolvable suture will depend on the material that they’re made of. Most of them are violet in color with the exception of gut sutures (yellow/gold) and Maxon (green). Although some of them can come undyed which means they’ll look white in color!

If yours are self-dissolving it means that you don’t need a suture removal appointment. If you wait long enough, they’ll fall out all on their own.


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