Medical Q&As

Scalp stitches - stitch left behind?

In July of this year I cut my head and received several stitches, which were later removed. One of the stitches was overlooked because of an overlying healing scab. Recently I have noticed the stitch. There is only a minimal piece sticking out on one side and on the other side the stitch is visible just below the skin. Is this dangerous to infection or will the body push it out itself? I have been told to take it out would be a messy business. Should I ignore it?

Scalp stitches are usually made from inert material that does not dissolve over time. It is possible that at some stage in the future it could become a focus for infection. I think it would be reasonable to let your GP have a look at it. The knot on the stitch may have unravelled or may have been cut off when the stitches were removed in July. In that case it could be relatively easy to literally pull out the stitch by pulling on the extruding piece. I am not suggesting that you pull on it yourself because you could traumatise the scalp giving rise to infection at the suture site. Let your doctor have a look at it. It may be relatively easy to remove the material for you.