Having stitches removed after blepharoplasty is often uncomfortable, but not terribly painful for most patients. Here’s what to expect when those sutures come out.
What Happens During Stitch Removal?
The stitches used during blepharoplasty are very fine and delicate. They help hold the delicate eyelid tissues in place while they heal after surgery. Stitches may be located on the upper lids, lower lids, or both depending on the type of blepharoplasty performed.
When it’s time for stitch removal, your surgeon will use a very fine instrument to snip each suture and then gently pull it out. This only takes a few seconds per stitch. Most patients have somewhere between 5-20 stitches total.
Is Stitch Removal Painful?
Having stitches taken out causes some degree of discomfort for most patients. However, it is not an extremely painful process overall. Here’s a look at what you can expect:
- You’ll feel a small snip as each suture is cut.
- There is a pinching sensation as the stitch is removed.
- The area may be sensitive and a little sore afterwards.
- Some minor swelling, bruising, or redness can occur.
Many patients take over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) an hour before stitch removal. This helps take the edge off any discomfort. Your surgeon may also prescribe a mild pain medication. Applying ice to the area afterwards can also help.
The good news is that any discomfort is very brief, lasting only seconds for each stitch removed. Within a day after they are taken out, most patients feel completely back to normal.
Factors Affecting Discomfort Level
Every patient has a slightly different experience when getting their stitches out. But some factors that can influence the discomfort level include:
- Number of stitches – More stitches mean a longer removal process.
- Skill of the surgeon removing them – An experienced hand works quicker.
- Tolerance for pain – Everyone perceives pain differently.
- Location of stitches – Lower lids tend to be more sensitive.
- Tension on the stitches – Tighter stitches pinch more when removed.
Talk to your surgeon ahead of time if you are very anxious about pain or discomfort during the stitch removal process. They can provide advice to make it as smooth and comfortable as possible.
Recovery After Stitch Removal
Within a few hours after having your stitches taken out, you should have very minimal residual pain. Any soreness, tenderness, or swelling should go away quickly.
Most patients can resume normal activities right away after stitch removal. However, your surgeon may advise you to:
- Avoid rubbing or irritating the areas where stitches were removed for 24 hours.
- Use antibiotic ointment on the incision sites for a few days.
- Be very gentle when washing your face for the first couple of days.
- Wear sunglasses if going outside to protect from wind, dust, etc.
- Skip any strenuous exercise temporarily.
Following your surgeon’s postoperative care instructions can help ensure your eyelids heal quickly and safely after the stitches come out.
While not extremely comfortable, having stitches removed after blepharoplasty is generally not a very painful process. With some numbing medication and a skilled surgeon working quickly, most patients describe it as mildly to moderately uncomfortable. The reward is getting to see your final results once those stitches are out! If you prepare mentally, use pain relievers as recommended, and follow your doctor’s advice for recovery, you should bounce back rapidly.