General Question

rowenaz's avatar

What happens to the sutures?

Asked by rowenaz (2436points) July 31st, 2009

I had a mesh put in during a hernia repair, and they used some sutures to secure it to my abdominal wall. What will happen to the internal suture material? Will it deteriorate? Be absorbed by the body? Don’t have my followup appointment for 2 weeks and was curious about this now!

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7 Answers

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Internal sutures should just deteriorate over time.

Harp's avatar

They get eaten by your white blood cells.

The sutures are identified as foreign material, which sets up an inflammatory reaction. White blood cells (phagocytes) then do their job of ingesting the suture material, as they would any other irritating foreign body.

MagsRags's avatar

Short answer – it depends. Not all suture material is absorbable. There are a variety of absorbable suture materials in a variety of thicknesses – some types absorb more slowly than others, and the thicker the suture, the stronger it is and the slower to absorb. There are also non-absorbable sutures – those have to be biologically inert to avoid the inflammatory response harp referred to.

Surgeons base their choice of suture material on how it needs to function. I just did a bit of quick researh, and it looks like hernia repairs are done with non-absorbable sutures to hold the mesh in place.

Darwin's avatar

What @MagsRags said. Some sutures “dissolve” over time, others work their way to the skin’s surface, and others endure just about forever. It depends on what job the sutures need to do.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Ask your doctor about this, especially what kind of mesh they used, what kind of sutures, what type of repair it was (ie tension-free, laparoscopic, etc). You can call up the doctor’s office and ask, you don’t have to wait until your appointment.

Flo_Nightengale's avatar

They do not really dissolve. The body’s immune system attacks the sutures as a foreign body and attempts to rid it from the body. Of course it all depends on the actual material, some are more durable.

rowenaz's avatar

Turns out @MagsRags was right! The sutures are the non absorbed type, where the staples (tacks, actually) will be absorbed in 3 months. I forgot to ask the doctor about the mash, she just said it was really rough on one side, which will help it bind to the wall, and smooth on the other, so the intestines won’t stick to it.

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