Undissolved stitches

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Hi All,

With both of my tkr's the doc used staples to close the outer wound and apparently dissolving stitches in the layers below the surface. First, the staples caused a reaction to my skin ( they contain nickle and I'm allergic to it). Doc didn't think it would be too much of a problem since they would only be in for 2 weeks. That was 2 weeks too long. It was a mess, local infections along the frankenstein wound. Put antibiotic cream on it to help it heal. Then, undissolved stitches appeared at the open wounds and i fished them out with tweezers.

Doc said it was normal since dissolving st under the skin can take months to dissolve and my body is revolting against them. Anyone experience this with tkr's?

Thanks. Elaine in Michigan

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12 Replies

  • Posted

    I only had staples one time the other 10 surgeries I had stitches. Never had any problems but did have some of The internal stitches working their way to the surface. Be awfully careful messing with them and don't put anything but a dry steril 4 x4 (or 2x2) on the wound until the drainage stops and then nothing 1st all till the scabs are gone and everything is healed. Then you can use Vit E oil to soften and heal the leg both internally and externally. Messing with a draining incision is a recipe for disaster. Its a a real good way to get an epi staph or even MRSA. Be very careful. You hearing from a guy that had to have the prosthesis removed completely and then treated for staph with 8 weeks of antibiotic infusion, 4 months of non weight bearing immobilization and another surgery to put in another appliance. If you have any unusual drainage, fever or pain get to the surgeon immediately even if you have e to go through the emergency room. I go to a teaching university medical center so my infectious disease guy is on staff and handy when needed.
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    • Posted

      Thank you for that advice. I am relieved to hear you're familiar with stitches appearing out of nowhere.

      It appears we are both night owls. Can't sleep like I could pre tkr's.

      Good Night and we'll talk again soon.

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  • Posted

    Hi Elaine. I've had both knees done and had glue on the outer incision. Both times I had a stitch work its way through the incision before it healed. My PT laughingly calls it "spitting a stitch". Good way to get rid of them 😀
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  • Posted

    With both my TKR's (primary & revision) I've had internal stitches popping through! I have two at the moment, but I was told never, under any circumstances, pull them out. The internal blocks of stiches (approx 6 layers) need to heal slowly - so however tempting - leave them be!
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    • Posted

      6 layers?? Wow, no wonder it hurts! I knew there would be a lot, but I never thought to ask the grim details. Ah well, another explanation as to why there's soooo much pain!!

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  • Posted

    hi elaine yuck !! it sounds awful ,to be honest i would not go messing about with stitches you could cause alot more problems .i did have staples awful things but i did not have any problem with them .i would go see your doctor or go to the hospital and let them have a look .infections are not to messed with and even if you dont have one its possible you could get one if the wound opens up so get it looked at A.S.A.P, good luck
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  • Posted

    What a stupid fart.  Where did the man earn his doctorate.  Did they not ask you pre-op if you had any allergies.  What is your joint made of?  If it is surgical steel, then there is trace amounts of nickel.  If it is titanium you are fine. Putting cream on when you did, most probably helped open your scar a bit more than was good, that's why they say dont get it wet.  Have you tried creams that are for hives and and other antihistamine creams
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  • Posted

    Hopefully you are now healed and the wound is closed. if it is not you should see your doctor asap and get his advice and continue to see him on a regular basis until the wound is healed. An unhealed wound can easily lead to an infection which often means total failure forever!!!
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  • Posted

    Hi elaine

    i have just had my knee done five weeks ago and my undissoved stitches have started to show on surface. I am really glad I read your email as I thought something terrible was happening thank you 

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  • Posted

    I had my knee replaced about 5 weeks ago. Looks like a stitch is trying to come out, but so far PA has not been able to locate it. She put me on two antibiotics for a week - clindamycin HCL 300 (Cleocin) and Sulfamethoxazole-TMP DS ( Bactrim). Anyone else have to take antibiotics for this - I am taking it as a precaution, drainage is clear). Also, has not healed up and has been over a week. How long does it take? Am keeping it covered and dry, changing dressing once a day, per PA orders.
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