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Suturing matters: These errors can lead to problems for patients

Closing a surgical wound correctly is an essential step to making sure that a patient is not exposed to bacteria or other infectious agents too openly. Sutures are meant to keep the wound closed and sealed until the body heals on its own. In most cases, sutures are strong enough to allow patients to get up or walk around, depending on where they are, and are intended to be taken out before 21 days. Sometimes, in rare cases, they'll stay in longer.

Suturing isn't intended to take the place of healing. Sutures are temporary.When they are left in for too long, the skin may retain marks and scar. It can also be difficult to remove sutures if they have been left in for too long.

Today, many medical providers use dissolvable/absorbable sutures. As the body heals, it literally eats through the sutures. Eventually, they fall off or are absorbed into the body, where they are broken down and dissolved. Unfortunately, these, like their nonabsorbable counterparts, can cause irritation and allergies, which your provider will need to check for.

What kinds of suturing errors occur?

There are a few kinds of suturing errors to watch out for. One could happen if a suture isn't sterile when placed, leading to an infection of the surgical site.

Another possible error would be using the wrong kind of suture for closing the wound. There are at least eight types of sutures, including absorbable and nonabsorbable types. Some cannot be used on cardiac repairs, for example, while others are preferred for facial injuries. Medical providers need to be cautious to use the right kinds.

Failing to remove sutures can also lead to issues. While removing them, they do need to be sterilized, and the remaining wounds should be as well.

If you suffer complications because of an infection along a suture line or due to improper suturing of your surgical site, it may be a medical error that you can file a claim over.

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