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Offline heather k from wales

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HELP..... stitches problem
« on: March 23, 2006, 11:40:01 PM »
OK, so we are all guilty about doing some sort of silly things whilst we have been recovering....have'nt we :-\ ???
OK so I have done a silly thing......my stitches were really bugging me and Im not due for a post op appointment until 3 weeks post op.....so silly me decided to remove my stitches.  Not an unusual thing for me, I always do it myself, but usually infront of a nurse. 
I got the tweesers, scissors etc sterile and snipped the ends (all the stitches are internal and nothing else visable), so put the tweesers around the loose end and pulled gently, expecting it to come out nice and smooth.....well disaster happened....the scar started to wrinkle like a loose thread being pulled from a pair of knickers :o....then if that was'nt bad enough.....suddenly it snapped, leaving no visable thread to pull on :-\ :-[ :(
Aaaaaaaarrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhh......

What do I do??  Im really embarrased about this foolish thing I have done.  You are the only people I can face telling and asking advice/guideance from.....
Do I.........
(A) panic, running around like a headless chicken :P
(B) Pretend I didnt do it :-[
(C) What stitches, I dont remember any :-\
(D) Wait and pray for them to work their own way out :-[
(E) Pray even more that they are dissolving ones (even though I know for a fact that they are nylon) :'(

Seriously though, has anyone else been daft enough to do the same or come across this kind of situation or similar ???
Im sort of freaked out, having 4" worth of nylon buried under my skin and no way of getting it out :-[

Heather :-\
« Last Edit: March 24, 2006, 09:01:19 AM by heather k from wales »
91 Mangled Right knee on trials motorbike
94 Meniscus Repair
95 ACL/LCLrec,notchplasty,bone graft
01 90% Menisectomy
02 Scope
03 ACLrec,LAD
OA,osteophytes
04 Ch'plasty, ACLdeb,Suprapatella mbr ex, haematoma
04 Scope
March 06 Scaphoid op/bone graft
Nov 07 Thyroid Cancer ops x 2, radiation

Offline heather k from wales

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Re: HELP..... stitches problem
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2006, 09:02:26 AM »
Anyone????? :-[
91 Mangled Right knee on trials motorbike
94 Meniscus Repair
95 ACL/LCLrec,notchplasty,bone graft
01 90% Menisectomy
02 Scope
03 ACLrec,LAD
OA,osteophytes
04 Ch'plasty, ACLdeb,Suprapatella mbr ex, haematoma
04 Scope
March 06 Scaphoid op/bone graft
Nov 07 Thyroid Cancer ops x 2, radiation

Offline Heather M.

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Re: HELP..... stitches problem
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2006, 09:48:30 AM »
You know you're going to have to talk to the doctor...it sounds like you might have had a running stitch.  That might explain why the whole incision crinkled up when you pulled at one end. 

But you really need to talk to the OS, because if that incision pops open again you could be in a world of hurt. I wouldn't worry so much about getting the rest of the stitch out as what may happen to the incision if it hasn't closed completely and you get bacteria from your skin in there.

So you've done the crime, now you must do the time.  ;D  You have to confess your sins to the OS and deal with the consequences...though it sounds like you have punished yourself enough.

I've had incisions pop open several times, and it was a nightmare for me because I got infections deep in the joint twice.  So the general advice I was given with an open incision:  Keep the wound clean, do NOT take a bath/swim/sit in hot tub/go in pool or go to the gym (that equipment is a germ fest); cover incision while you shower to keep it dry; no lotions or Neosporin or gunk or anything on there--exception is sterile betadine applied with sterile cotton ball or fresh q-tip; place fresh STERILE gauze pads over the wound (individually wrapped, not a bunch of gauze squares jammed together in a box), then wrap an ACE bandage loosely around the leg (but firm enough to hold the gauze in place without rubbing or moving).  Change the gauze pads once a day if they remain dry and clean.  If there is any blood or discharge, change the pads twice a day and carefully inspect what's coming out of the wound for color and bad odor.  If there is a lot of blood/discharge on the pad (i.e. it has soaked through), then don't rip the gauze off--take a hot, wet washcloth and place it over the wound to soften and soak the pad, then remove when everything is thoroughly wetted there is no danger of ripping a scab off.  Wash your hands thoroughly before touching the area or changing the gauze--with soap and hot water, scrubbing hands long enough to sing two entire verses of "Happy Birthday to You."  Seriously, about 20 seconds....that's what my OS told me when I popped my scope incisions open.  When I had a three inch arthrotomy, I had a bad reaction to the internal stitches and got gooey little abcesses on the incision--the doctor had to open the bottom up and dig out the internal junk in an office visit.  The PT sent me straight up from a session because he didn't want to touch it during therapy.  That's another thing--be very careful in the PT clinic to keep the knee covered--PT facilities, like gyms, are covered with bacteria.  Normally, our bodies handle this just fine, but with an open wound it's a big risk.

Call the doc first thing tomorrow and see what he/she says.  I'm sure you'll get chided for your creative nursing skills.... ;)

Heather
Scope #1: LR, part. menisectomy w/cyst, chondroplasty
#2-#5: Lysis of adhesions/scar tissue, AIR, patellar tendon debridement, infections, MUA, insufflation
#6: IT band release / Z-Plasty, synovectomy, LOA/AIR, chondroplasty
2006 Arthrofibrosis, patella baja
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hmaxwell

Offline heather k from wales

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Re: HELP..... stitches problem
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2006, 10:47:36 AM »
Thanks for the lengthy reply Heather......Luckily the wound has totally healed really well....it had done so even after about 4 days post op.
BUT, how the heck am I going to get these stitches out??, I watched the operation and saw the OS sew 3 layers of stitches (because it was a deep incision) all about 4" long :-[
I managed to de-wrinkle the scar, by pulling on the other end of the thread, but in the process the other end slipped away into the skin :o
Will my body one day reject them and start to spit them out or will they sit there with the spikey nylon ends poking like needles into my flesh :-\  Will they decide to cut them out :'(....Oh crappy crap crap, what have I done ???
I deserve to be called a dizzy moose.
I was just really itching to get that horrible tight stitches feeling out of my wrist, so I could start getting a bit of movement back :-[
I have an appointment with the nurse at my GP's on Monday to see what she says.....but Im sure she will say it needs cutting out :'(

Heather :P
91 Mangled Right knee on trials motorbike
94 Meniscus Repair
95 ACL/LCLrec,notchplasty,bone graft
01 90% Menisectomy
02 Scope
03 ACLrec,LAD
OA,osteophytes
04 Ch'plasty, ACLdeb,Suprapatella mbr ex, haematoma
04 Scope
March 06 Scaphoid op/bone graft
Nov 07 Thyroid Cancer ops x 2, radiation

Offline Audice

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Re: HELP..... stitches problem
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2006, 11:18:57 AM »
Heather ~ I'm guessing that if you don't have an appointment with your doctor for 3 weeks, the stitches might be the dissolving kind & you won't have to worry about getting them out. Most sutures are removed before 3 weeks elapse.

And if you can't see any individual knots, you do have a running line of stitches almost like the stitch that binds the edge of a blanket - one beginning, one end. But remember, if that's the case, you can always undo the line even tho the ends aren't obvious as it's one common thread. Do take Heather's advice & keep the suture clean Wishing you well...Ellie
April, 2005 - ACL rupture, medial meniscus tear within posterior horn to articular surface, abnormal signal within lateral meniscus, partial tear MCL, bone contusions tibia/fibula, Baker's cyst.
No repairs.

Offline heather k from wales

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Re: HELP..... stitches problem
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2006, 11:39:12 AM »
Thanks for the reply Ellie....It will be 2weeks and 5 days post op when I have my appointment.  I saw on the notes that the stitches were nylon when I went there earlier in the week after falling on my newly operated wrist.
There were knots at both ends of the incision, I snipped them and pulled and as the one end just popped under the skin, the other snapped, leaving absolutley no visable thread :-[
Ive ahd these type of stitches before on my knee and they pulled out really easily, I thought my wrist would be just the same :-\

Woops!

Heather :P
91 Mangled Right knee on trials motorbike
94 Meniscus Repair
95 ACL/LCLrec,notchplasty,bone graft
01 90% Menisectomy
02 Scope
03 ACLrec,LAD
OA,osteophytes
04 Ch'plasty, ACLdeb,Suprapatella mbr ex, haematoma
04 Scope
March 06 Scaphoid op/bone graft
Nov 07 Thyroid Cancer ops x 2, radiation

Offline Audice

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Re: HELP..... stitches problem
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2006, 02:32:12 PM »
There were knots at both ends of the incision, I snipped them and pulled and as the one end just popped under the skin, the other snapped, leaving absolutley no visable thread
Woops!
Heather :P

Woops is right, Heather. <g> My experiences with sutures are all animal related. I can remember my big long borzoi having stomach surgery & the vet used that same sort of running stitch to sew him up. Poor guy just stretched & one end let go but it was there & the vet managed to find & secure it. His wound was new but the suture line underneath did hold all but the outer layer in place. Hope all goes well...Ellie
April, 2005 - ACL rupture, medial meniscus tear within posterior horn to articular surface, abnormal signal within lateral meniscus, partial tear MCL, bone contusions tibia/fibula, Baker's cyst.
No repairs.

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Re: HELP..... stitches problem
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2006, 04:21:13 PM »
What do I do??  Im really embarrased about this foolish thing I have done.  You are the only people I can face telling and asking advice/guideance from.....
Do I.........
(A) panic, running around like a headless chicken
(B) Pretend I didnt do it
(C) What stitches, I dont remember any
(D) Wait and pray for them to work their own way out
(E) Pray even more that they are dissolving ones (even though I know for a fact that they are nylon)


Hi Heather - This part of your first mail had me in stitches, tee hee. (I know bad pun!) I think you should....
A - Panic, running around like a headless chicken (but watch them knees!)
B - Pretened you didn't do it (Blame it on the dog. Honest doctor it was Rover)

I've taken my own stiches out before too so you're not alone, it's just unfortunate (and a bit daft, I know I shouldn't have done it either! lol) I'm sure you'll be fine, but get it seen to asap. Always better to air on the side of caution.

Have a lovely weekend
Hop  ;)

Offline heather k from wales

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Re: HELP..... stitches problem
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2006, 10:43:08 PM »
Thanks for your replies everyone, Ive been out all day collecting my brother from the airport....havent really seen him since Christmas, (apart from collecting him one late night from an airport ready to fly out again from another in the middle of the night), so managed to get him to slave away as my IKEA trolley boy ;D
Had fun spending, but had the horrible thought of my stitches nightmare on my mind all day.  I told my brother what happened, (we always share stupid things we are too embarrased to tell anyone else about) he called me a silly cow :P, which I deserved!!
All afternoon and tonight Ive been in a fair bit of pain, lying on the couch gettting everyone to fetch and carry for me.......so now Ive decided to bite the bullet and go to A&E in the morning.......Look out Rover, no more treats for you for a while ;D

Really though, Im so embarrased and mad with myself for doing this.....I was derermined to give myself the best possible, smoothest recovery ever this time.....and I have gone and thrown a cog in the works so early on :'(
Hopefully, this time tomorrow Ill be relieved that it was just a little time in A&E to dig the little monster out and get on with my recovery.

Ill let you know how it goes (if I dont chicken out) :-\

Heather :P
91 Mangled Right knee on trials motorbike
94 Meniscus Repair
95 ACL/LCLrec,notchplasty,bone graft
01 90% Menisectomy
02 Scope
03 ACLrec,LAD
OA,osteophytes
04 Ch'plasty, ACLdeb,Suprapatella mbr ex, haematoma
04 Scope
March 06 Scaphoid op/bone graft
Nov 07 Thyroid Cancer ops x 2, radiation

Offline Teresa_S

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Re: HELP..... stitches problem
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2006, 12:14:12 AM »
Heather, I bet that your biggest problem is that you just tried to do it too soon, and that is why you lost it and it did not pull out smoothly as it was not healed completely.Outer edges pulled together by stitches tend to look healed as they edges soon close, but they are not completely healed on the inside.With a subcuticulare stitch where it is sewed so as to not really show the egges but looked more like rolled together, those are not removed, even if there are knots at the edge of them. I think perhaps it would be good to find out if pulling did any internal damage, or just pulled against elements healing, and caused more internaly scarring. Good Luck, Teresa
On going instrumentation failure, chronic infection,
Arthroscopes Left 11 Right 2, MRSA, L TKR  ,  Revision, LR x5, Medial and lateral meniscus repair, Broken prosthesis
Osteochondral Fracture,untreated 6 mths. Revision new tkr 01-07 awaiting new hip and right knee
R TKR pending

Offline Sarahreindeer12

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Re: HELP..... stitches problem
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2006, 12:16:32 AM »
What about using steri strips?  That way the scar won't expand.  Sarah

Hop skip n jump

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Re: HELP..... stitches problem
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2006, 01:51:49 PM »
Hi Heather

Have you been? You ok?

Hop ;)

Offline UK Girl !

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Re: HELP..... stitches problem
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2006, 09:02:16 PM »
Hi heather
have to say that I must have sick sense of humour as I like hop found the first part of your thread very amusing - you could ring nhs direct and be asking for advice for a friend!! However being the nhs there might be a long wait for an answer.

seriously - get it looked at - everyone does stupid things - especially drs and nurses!- knew a nurse who did her own stitches with fishing tckle!!! duh
take care - let us know their reaction so we know whether to confess if we are silly!
1978 - ruptured acl and all cartalidge removed.
several debridements over years
TKR 10TH JULY 2006 http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/KNEEtalk/index.php?topic=28257.0  Aug 07 patellar maltracking - more physio! Still pain - but so much better !
BIOMET AGC  TKR  (with 10 yr warranty !)

Offline heather k from wales

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Re: HELP..... stitches problem
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2006, 10:41:42 PM »
OK everyone, the DIY stitch removal service's are back ;D
Ive been away from the computer all day and just logged on now......so here we go.........
Managed to get down to A&E early this morning.....7.45am I was through the door :o....thought Id beat A&E rush hour on a Saturday morning :D
I was only there from start to finish for just over an hour.
Saw the check-em-in woman, was sent for a sit down and long wait of about.......5 mins :o, saw the triage nurse who sucked in my stroy (sorry Rover, you're a bad dog....ha ha I havent even got a dog!!!) ;D (just couldnt face the embarrasment of telling them what I told you :P)
Then a 15min wait in the cubicle to see a Dr who could barely speak or understand English.....who then got one of the Surgical Dr's to see me, who also had the same language problem :-\
They managed to poke, prod and squeeze a tiny weeny bit of thread out of the skin and grasp it with the tweezers.....pulled and only about 1/4" came out.....so a good 3 1/2" is still buried in there :-\
They said that it is no harm being left in there......like hell it is I thought!!, its right on the wrist joint, restricting movement with the tightness and pulling...... you all know the feeling, Im sure >:(
Anyway, I managed to get from there with nice soft new dressings and some spares. 
Im dying to have the tight stitch feeling released, so on Monday I have an appointment to see the Nurse at my GP's.  She is the stitch removal nurse, so Im sure she will have a better knowledge of this than anyone else and maybe be able to help me before I go to my hand clinic appointment in just over a week.  I heal really well, so if she has to gowdge it out, then it should be neat and tidy by then , with my hand OS knowing no different:-\

Just had a thought.....knowing what I have read on my notes in the past, and after racking my brain for a fool-proof excuse all night.....I bet they have put..........'Patient unsuccesfully attempted to remove sutures' :P

Oh well, thats life,

Heather ;)

PS: anyone needing help removing their own stitches......you know where to find me ;D

Seriously though......WAIT UNTIL THE NURDE/DR DOES THEM FOR YOU 8)

It was so gruesome and alien-like watching the skin wrinkle like one of those wrinkly puppies.....it would have made an excellent slot on the Jackass show :o
91 Mangled Right knee on trials motorbike
94 Meniscus Repair
95 ACL/LCLrec,notchplasty,bone graft
01 90% Menisectomy
02 Scope
03 ACLrec,LAD
OA,osteophytes
04 Ch'plasty, ACLdeb,Suprapatella mbr ex, haematoma
04 Scope
March 06 Scaphoid op/bone graft
Nov 07 Thyroid Cancer ops x 2, radiation

Offline heather k from wales

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Re: HELP..... stitches problem
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2006, 09:06:27 PM »
Well, like a good little girl (and worried sick :P), I toodled off to my appointment at my GP's nurse this afternoon.
She had a look at my scar....full of stitches......but absolutley none visable :-[ then went to talk to the Dr. She returned and said it is a job for the surgeon..... it will need opening up and the stitches removing :'( :-[ :P :-\ :-X........Aaaaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhhhh, I really wanted this all sorted before my appointment next Tuesday.  Im dreading going to my appointment, what they will say and what they will do.  I really dont want to be put back a week or two by having to open up the cut again :-[

Oh well, I suppose I have learned a valuable lesson :(

Hope you are having a good day everyone,

Heather ;)

PS: Looking back at my 1st post on this topic, I have managed to work my way through all my options.....concentrating mainly on (A) :o
« Last Edit: March 27, 2006, 09:10:15 PM by heather k from wales »
91 Mangled Right knee on trials motorbike
94 Meniscus Repair
95 ACL/LCLrec,notchplasty,bone graft
01 90% Menisectomy
02 Scope
03 ACLrec,LAD
OA,osteophytes
04 Ch'plasty, ACLdeb,Suprapatella mbr ex, haematoma
04 Scope
March 06 Scaphoid op/bone graft
Nov 07 Thyroid Cancer ops x 2, radiation