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Are White Stitches Dissolvable?

Unfortunately, white stitches can be both dissolvable AND non-dissolvable because both types of sutures originally come undyed. The reason stitches are colored is because manufacturers dye them for easy recognition.


White stitches - PTFE
White stitches - PTFE

Typically, you can identify dissolvable and non-dissolvable stitches by their color BUT white ones are an exception. Their color gives no indication about it's dissolvability.


Table of Contents:


Dissolvable white stitches

Yes, white sutures can be absorbable because self-dissolving ones often come in an undyed variation. That is because all types of stitches are naturally undyed but manufacturers dye them for ease of identification.


undyed absorbable sutures

As an example, we'll take a look at some Vicryl sutures from Ethicon, which are absorbable but they come in an undyed and violet color.


Vicryl - dyed VIOLET
Vicryl - dyed VIOLET

The image above was taken directly from the manufacturer's website. It shows that the color of the thread is indeed violet and it is dissolvable.


Vicryl - Undyed
Vicryl - Undyed

The image above was also taken from the manufacturer's website but here it shows that it is undyed but still dissolvable.


That is just evidence for you that dissolving stitches can be both colored and non-colored (white). Therefore, the color of the thread is not the most reliable indicator for its dissolution potential.


Unboxing video of absorbable white sutures

To drive the point home, we'll show you an unboxing video of sutures that are white and dissolvable. Hopefully this will serve as irrefutable proof.




 

Non-dissolvable white stitches

Not trying to be dramatic but yes, white sutures can also be non-absorbable. Once again, they can come undyed or colorless but manufacturers will dye them so doctors can identify them easily based on color alone.


As an example, we'll examine some Nylon sutures from Ethicon, which are non-absorbable but they come in a dyed (black) and undyed (white) variation.


Nylon suture - dyed black
Nylon suture - dyed black

From the image above which was taken from Ethicon's website, it shows that this nylon suture is both black and non-dissolvable.


Nylon suture - undyed
Nylon suture - undyed

However, in this image above which was also taken from their website, this shows a different nylon product. This time, the product is labeled as undyed and non-absorbable. That means the stitch will look white and if you look at the label closely, they call it "clear" in color.


Unboxing video of non-absorbable white sutures

To drive the point home once again, we'll show you an unboxing video of sutures that are white and non-dissolvable. You won't be able to deny what we've told you.



 

How to tell if they're absorbable

Since the color white can mean that your stitches can be both dissolvable and non-dissolvable, you can't rely on it to tell. Therefore, the only way to tell is by calling your doctor and asking them if they'll dissolve on their own.


If they say that they'll dissolve then it means that you don't need to do anything for it. They'll fall out all on their own. However, if they say that they won't dissolve, then you'll need to return for a suture removal appointment. The only way to get them out is by physically cutting them off.


What determines stitches dissolvability

Based on everything we've talked about above, you now know that the color does not determine a stitches' dissolvability. Whether or not they can be absorbed by your body depends on the material that they're made of.


  • Gut sutures

  • Polyglycolic acid

  • Polydioxanone

  • Polytrimethylene carbonate

  • Polyglactin 910

  • Glycomer 631

  • Polyglytone 6211

  • Poliglecaprone


All of the materials above are synthetic except the gut sutures which are natural. They will dissolve either by hydrolysis or by proteolytic enzymes. Essentially if they're made of one of the type of materials above, they can be broken down by your body.


You won't be able to tell what material that they're made of, only your doctor who put them in will know what they used.


Takeaway

In conclusion, you won't be able to tell if your stitches are dissolvable if they're white in color. All sutures can come in an undyed variation and if that is the case, your guess would be as good as mine.


The only person in this world who can tell you if your white sutures are dissolvable would be the person who put them in for you. No one else can give you an answer. That is everything that our dentists in Long island City have to say about white stitches.

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About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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