When should I remove my circumcision stitches?

In adults, stitches (or sutures) are a common way of closing the circumcision wound whilst it heals.

Whilst there are different types of stitches, the most common type used in circumcision are dissolving stitches. These do not require a second visit to your surgeon for removal and will naturally start to fray and dissolve over time.

When will stitches dissolve after circumcision?

Stitches used for circumcision typically dissolve within 10-14 days, but can take as long as 4 weeks to disappear fully.

However, they may dissolve at different rates and you may wish to remove them manually to avoid stitch tunnels or ‘train tracks’. These can occur when the skin heals around the stitch because it has not been removed or dissolved quickly enough.

How to remove your own circumcision stitches

Whilst we recommend you first contact your doctor about your stitches, it is possible to remove them yourself.

Warning: if you remove your stitches too early, the wound is likely to re-open. You should leave your stitches in for 12-14 days.

You can remove stitches with some very small scissors such as nails scissors and some tweezers. Make sure these are both clean, ideally by sterilising with alcohol. You should also make sure your wound is clean before beginning.

To remove a stitch, cut the thread one one side of the knot. Then use your tweezers to pull on the knot. This will pull the remaining stitch out.

Do not cut in two places, as this will leave part of the stitch under the skin and could lead to worse outcomes.

Removing your stitches shouldn’t hurt (although it may feel weird or ticklish!). You should discontinue removal if it is particularly painful or begins to bleed.

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