Health Watch — Surgery: Caring for Sutures

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This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about developments in surgery and the treatment of surgical patients. Surgical incisions and other wounds are closed with sutures, but with some sutures, the care after surgery may make them less effective.

Dr. Joseph Leach, an otolaryngologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says that hydrogen peroxide is popular for keeping wounds clean, but it may dissolve some sutures. There are two kinds of sutures used to provide support to the skin while it heals. Some are gradually absorbed into the body during healing, while others don’t absorb and are removed after healing. The absorbable sutures are weakened when exposed to hydrogen peroxide, so doctors suggest that patients be instructed after surgery not to use hydrogen peroxide with this kind of sutures.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in ear, nose and throat (otolaryngology).


January 2008

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