What is a Spitting Stitch?

The information in this section is made available through the generous support of Dr. Grant Stevens.

Sometimes stitches will work themselves to the surface, or the ends of a stitch will pop out. This will sometimes manifest itself as a red spot that peaks in the way a blemish would, and then once it's out it will heal. It can be painful, but it's typically not serious.  When the stitch pops out it can look like a piece of soft white rice. If it's not infected, the spot will heal quickly once it's out. Your plastic surgeon can help you with this. If you see your plastic surgeon for a spit stitch, ask him if there is anything you can do for yourself if it happens again, or if he would like you to make a return appointment in the event of a new spot.

If you have a green discharge or if it smells, feels inflamed, or is hot to the touch - call your plastic surgeon, general practitioner or the Plastic Surgery outpatient's department and speak to a nurse immediately.

Of course, you should call if you have any concerns over a spit stitch. This is just meant as a description of a spit stitch and what typically happens with them. You should always call your plastic surgeon if you have a concern.

Sometimes people have difficulty with their dissolvable stitches. Sometimes they don't agree with your body, or as they dissolve they create their own 'weather.' As they break down they turn into a fluid that your body needs to carry off. For some of us it will collect - the fluid and partially dissolved stitches - and cause a blister. It usually occurs on an incision since your body views the incision as the path of least resistance for releasing the fluid. It will sometimes come to the surface, and it can be frightening. If it manages to release you might see something that looks like infection and lumpy rice. Do not panic. It may not be infected. It may simply be a collection of stitch pieces, accompanied by fluid, white blood cells, and some blood. In any event, you should call your plastic surgeon and be seen.  While it is upsetting when this occurs, it does not necessarily mean you have a raging breast infection or that you will have a hideous scar. Talk to your plastic surgeon about the best way for you to get it healed up quickly.