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San Antonio, TX
A female asked:

I had a skin biopsy on a benign mole. doc is on vacation and won't remove the 8 stitches until he returns 19 days after biopsy? is it safe to wait?

6 doctor answers10 doctors weighed in
Dr. Richard Zimon
Internal Medicine 60 years experience
Not to Worry: If the Doctor had felt that the mole was at all "suspicious" he/she would have made arrangements to contact you earlier. Benign moles are often removed for "prevention" not for actual treatment. Not to worry!
Dr. J. Lawrence Dohan
Dermatology 58 years experience
Sutures need to remain longer if skin is removed, shorter if a laceration. The DR must have been very suspicious and the mole must have been large. Be sure you get a cory of the pathology report. Moles are removed because they have some features of possible malignancy. They are not (or should not) be removed as "prevention". This was done in the past but was shown to be unnecessary.
Aug 13, 2014
Dr. J. Lawrence Dohan
Dermatology 58 years experience
Sutures need to stay longer if skin is removed, shorter if a laceration. Your DR must have been concerned and the mole must have been large. 8 sutures is a lot for a biopsy. Be sure to get a copy of the pathology. Moles are not removed for "prevention". They are removed because they have some features suggesting malignancy. I hope your's is benign.
Aug 13, 2014
Dr. Sewa Legha
Medical Oncology 51 years experience
Yes but it can lead: No harm done if it is few days longer but sometimes the stitches cause irritation/inflammation which can leave you with a more visible scar.
Dr. Zahid Niazi
Cosmetic Surgery 40 years experience
Can sutures stay in?: Ideally the sutures should come out sooner if adequate dermal support was provided. Sutures can cause irritation or leave marks much wider than just the incision scar. Depending on location of surgery and incision, your PCP or your local Plastic surgeon can recommend suture removal and post-op care including scar management.
Dr. Darryl Blinski
Plastic Surgery 47 years experience
Ask or pay to see a surgeon to remove these sutures sooner.
Aug 13, 2014
Dr. Susan Arnoult
Family Medicine 26 years experience
It's safe: The stitches may become very annoying but it is safe to wait. If you don't want to wait you could go to an urgent care at 10 days and have them removed.
Dr. Tamar Jeffery
Emergency Medicine 16 years experience
Yes it's safe: Your doctor is aware of where he placed the stitches. How long they stay in depends. On the face usually 5-7 days is the max. Elsewhere on the body where the skin is thicker and low chances of scarring stitches can be left longer. If you are having signs of infection-streaking lines from the site, warm to touch, red, and/or drainage that is not clear or straw colored have them taken out.
Dr. Matt Wachsman
Internal Medicine 37 years experience
Not entirely: cannot say in your particular case without an exam (but if I could examine the sutures in person, I'd remove them!).. and... suturesleft in place give a pathway for skin germs to get in and cause infection (redness, pus, warmth, pain, etc.) and.... the sutures heal into place and get progressively trickier to remove

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Last updated Sep 29, 2016

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