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What Do Dissolvable Stitches Look Like: Images & Videos

Dissolvable stitches look like a sewing knot that is placed over a surgical wound. It may come in various colors and different thread patterns. Therefore, it can look different from person to person depending on what the suture is made of.


Dissolvable stitch over extraction socket
Dissolvable stitch over extraction socket

Table of contents:


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.


Various types and colors of stitches
Various types and colors of stitches



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.


Suture Type

How its made

Material Type

Fast/Plain/Chromic Gut

Natural

Animal intestines

Polyglycolic acid

Synthetic

Polymers

Polydioxanone

Synthetic

Polymers

Polytrimethylene carbonate

Synthetic

Copolymers

Polyglactin 910

Synthetic

Copolymers

Glycomer 631

Synthetic

Copolymers

Polyglytone 6211

Synthetic

Copolymers

Poliglecaprone

Synthetic

Copolymers

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.


Color

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.


Dissolvable stitches - undyed, violet, gold colored sutures
Dissolvable stitches - undyed, violet, gold colored

Suture Type

Color

Gut/Catgut/Chromic

Yellow-Gold

Polyglycolic acid (Polysyn)

Violet

Polyglactin 910 (Vicryl)

Violet or White

Polydioxanone (PDS)

Violet

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.


Threads

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.


monofilament gold suture showing no frayed ends
no frayed ends

braided purple stitches - showing frayed ends
frayed ends of braided suture

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.


Non-dissolvable stitch over extraction site
Non-dissolvable stitch over extraction site

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.


 

Takeaway

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.


Key points:

  • 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. Alternatively if you're in the area, our dentists in Long Island City do provide consultations for suture removal.

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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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