Can You Remove Your Own Stitches?

can-remove-own-stitches Credit: Tanuki Photography/E+/Getty Images

Stitches can be removed at home if done carefully and in a hygenic setting, according to eMedicineHealth. However, it is safer and more effective to return to the doctor who placed the stitches to have them removed. This prevents infection and allows the doctor to inspect for any sign of abnormality with the injury.

Stitches are not tied together like a traditional seam. Instead, each one is individual. EMedicineHealth recommends referring to the instructions provided by the doctor for the care of stitches. They should not be removed before 10 to 14 days after placement. More time may be necessary if the wound was deep.

To remove the stitches, first make sure that the stitches are in an area that can be easily reached or have someone help remove them, according to eMedicineHealth. Sanitize a pair of scissors and tweezers. Small first aid or medical scissors work best due to their size and ability to slip under the stitch without pulling. Apply rubbing alcohol to the area of skin around the stitches. Slip the scissors underneath the stitch, and cut to one side of the knot. Use the sanitized tweezers to pull the side with the knot still attached away from the skin until the stitch comes out. If there is any excessive bleeding or the skin comes apart at the wound, go to a doctor. A very small amount of blood is normal. Repeat with the remaining stitches. This procedure is best done under the supervision of a nurse or doctor who is experienced with removing stitches.