To be frank, dissolvable stitches look very similar to a sewing knot. The only difference is that the sutures are placed on your body while the tailor’s knot is put into clothing!
Well, one is also sterile and the other is not… but that’s not what you’re here for. What you want to know is what these absorbable sutures look like.
We’re going to bombard you with images and videos so that you get an idea of how they look.
What do dissolvable stitches look like?
Dissolvable sutures come in various materials, colors, and threads, which all contribute to their appearance. Essentially the various combinations of those three factors is what distinguishes them from one another in how they look.
Type of material
The absorbable sutures can be made of natural or synthetic material. The all natural ones are made of the intestinal linings of ruminant animals while the synthetic ones are made of polymers and copolymers.
|Type of Suture||How its Made||Type of Material|
|Fast/Plain/Chromic Gut||Natural||Animal intestines|
Yes, we’re aware that a lot of the names sound incredibly familiar so be careful reading them.
What the different materials mean for you is that the threads can have different textures. You may not be able to visually see the texture but under a magnifying glass or microscope you certainly can. You’ll definitely be able to feel the texture with your fingers or tongue if they’re in your mouth.
In case you were curious, depending on what material they’re made of, they will dissolve via different mechanisms. It’ll either be via proteolytic enzymatic degradation or hydrolysis.
The dissolvable sutures come in a variety of different colors such as gold, green, purple, and white. However, white is not the best indicator since sutures come undyed but manufacturers dye them for ease of identification. In other words, white stitches can be non-dissolvable.
|Polyglycolic acid (Polysyn)||Violet|
|Polyglactin 910 (Vicryl)||Violet or White|
|Polytrimethylene carbonate (Maxon)||Green|
|Glycomer 631 (Biosyn)||Violet|
|Polyglytone 6211 (Caprosyn)||Violet or White|
|Poliglecaprone (Monocryl)||Violet or White|
If you see other colors such as black or blue, the stitches may not be dissolvable.
The absorbable stitches are made with different thread orientations. They can be monofilament (single thread) or polyfilament (braided).
To show you what that means, we’ve created a video so you can see.
Here are some up close images of what a braided vs monofilament suture looks like.
In the pictures above you can see that the braided one has frayed ends which is evidence that there are multiple threads. The monofilament as its name implies is a single strand so it does not have frayed ends.
Dissolvable vs Non-dissolvable stitches
Dissolvable stitches look identical to non-dissolvable stitches. In other words, you most likely won’t be able to tell them apart from their appearance alone because they share so many similarities.
- Both can be made of natural or synthetic materials.
- Both can be monofilament or polyfilament (braided).
- They can be dyed various colors or come undyed.
To be quite honest, you most likely won’t be able to tell the difference between an absorbable suture and a non-absorbable one just purely based on their looks.
The best way to differentiate them is to either ask your doctor or wait to see if they dissolve. Essentially if you notice them disappear or fall out on their own then that is definitive proof that they’re absorbable.
Hopefully that gives you a better idea of what stitches that dissolve on their own look like. They’re really not all that different from sewing knots for your clothing.
- They are made of different types of materials so their texture can be different.
- Different colored threads.
- The threads themselves can be single or multi-ply in a braided fashion.
If you were ever in doubt about their dissolvability, just give the doctor who put them in a call and simply ask them.