How to Remove Running Sutures

Incision wound suture.

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Suturing is a method of surgically closing a wound. The manner of suturing technique will depend upon the location, extent and nature of the wound. One suturing technique is the running suture. This method uses only one continuous piece of suturing material. The running suture requires only a knot at the beginning and end of the suturing material. This method is most frequently utilized when two pieces of tissue require proximity.

Assess the wound for complete healing prior to removal of sutures. The wound should be free from redness, discharge or other signs of infection.

Obtain a suture removal kit. A suture removal kit will contain a pair of sterilized tweezers and a pair of small scissors.

Cleanse the sutured area completely with an antiseptic solution recommended by a health care provider. This will also moisten the sutures and allow for easier removal from the skin.

Take the tweezers into your non-dominant hand and the scissors into your dominant hand.

Grasp one of the surgical knots with the tweezers. The surgical knots in a running suture will be located on either end of the wound. You will want to gently lift up on one of the knots in order to cut into the suture material past the knot.

Thread the suture back though the skin down the length of the wound, using the tweezers.You will grasp the length of thread running over the skin surface and gently pull upward allowing the suture to slide out of the skin. Continue this process until all suture material has been removed from the wound. As this is a running suture, there should not be additional knots to cut down the length of the wound.

Re-cleanse the wound with the antiseptic solution and a sterile piece of gauze.

Place a bandage over the area if any bleeding is noted after the removal of the suture. It is best to place sterile gauze over the wound and secure it to the skin with the use of surgical tape.