Allergy Community
Allergic to stitches
About This Community:

This patient support community is for discussions relating to airbourne allergies, eye allergies, shots, anaphylaxis, asthma, children's allergies, hives, insect stings, rhinitis, sinuses, and allergies to drugs, foods, and pets.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

Allergic to stitches

8 months ago I had surgery to remove cysts under my arms and disolving stitches were used and I ended up with an infection. 3 months later I had a hysterectomy and both stitches and staples were used. 4 days later I had a severe infection.  All was removed. My question is; I currently am breaking out with hives, I swell and get itchy throughout my body. My GP thinks I could be allergic to the dissoving stitches. They were all removed but she tells me that I still have some that were used inside by body. Has anyone heard of this?
Related Discussions
25 Comments Post a Comment
Blank
563773_tn?1374250139

Hello,

Whether the hives appered as an allergic reaction to the dissolving sutures or not depends on the material of the sutures and your body,s immune reaction to that material.Mostly dissolving sutures are catgut(plain/chromium),vicryl,monocryl or vicryl rapide(latest and least allergic).

Although your doctor is suspecting the stitches to be the source of allergy,but it is seen that many cases of hives are "idiopathic," meaning no cause is known. Others may be triggered by viral infections or medications.

The mainstay of treatment of hives is antihistamines like benadryl which may be necessary for prolonged periods (in excess of 6 weeks).Benadryl is available over the counter. Double conventional doses of  non-sedating antihistamines such as Cetirizine(zyrtec) and  Loratadine(Claritin) may be needed to get symptom relief. Sedating antihistamines such as Chlorphenamine or Hydroxyzine are used at night to get urticaria control. Short courses of oral cortisone or steroids are taken for short periods (one to three days) to settle more severe symptomsYou can apply mild steroid cream like dermacort on the hives.
You may take Vitamin C along with the prescribed treatment. Vitamin C is a general anti-allergy supplement.

If the symptoms persist, then you can consult an immunologist. He may start with immunosuppressive drugs.

If the hives don’t go after 6 wks of treatment also, then it can be a case of chronic urticaria which needs further evaluation as it may be due to auto antibodies.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I, too, have had a few instances of adverse reactions to dissolving sutures.  The first was after my fourth child was born and I had an extensive episiotomy (10 lb baby).  Approximately two weeks later I had large pustules at the sites of the sutures and itchy, inflammed tissue in the surrounding area.  Some of the pustules ruptured releasing large amounts of pus.  I was so uncomfortable (and grossed out!) that I went in to my OB.  He ruptured the remaining pustules and gave me some topical medicine to use.

About four years ago, I went in for a femoral hernia repair.  Dissolving sutures were used again and a mesh was placed to close a golfball-size hole in my intestinal lining.  I had much more abdominal discomfort than normal and over the next week had a large cucumber-sized mass in my lower right abdomen.  After two weeks of this, my surgeon used a needle and syringe to draw out 60 or so cc's of serum.  He told me this was a reaction to the materials used during the surgery.  I think I'm just not a good candidate for dissolving sutures.  My body just does not seem to like them and they don't dissolve like they're supposed to.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I had my gall bladder removed 2 years ago; within a week I was in the ER with hives, itching, and swelling of my eyes and lips.  I assumed it was probably a spider bite, as I live in the desert and had been cleaning the garage.  The symptoms were treated with Benadryl, Zantac and steroids, but I remembered the doctor asking me if I was allergic to internal dissolving sutures.  (I didn't know).  A year later, I had extensive reconstructive surgery (thanks to a bad delivery 17 years before that should have been a C-section) along with a vaginal hysterectomy.  Once again, I developed the hives and itching.  They were controllable with Benadryl and Zantac, and the symptoms lasted for 4 weeks until the sutures had completely dissolved.  (My surgeon was supportive and helpful in our discussions on this matter).  Recently, I had my wisdom teeth removed, and told the surgeon up front that I am allergic to internal dissolving sutures.  He used them anyway.  The next evening, my face felt hot and when I looked in the mirror, I looked as if I were sunburned, even though I had not been out in the sun.  During the night, I awakened with the itching and hives, and in the morning my lips were starting to swell.  I immediately started on the Benadryl and Zantac, and my symptoms were tolerable.  At my one week checkup, the surgeon apologized when he saw my condition (I was very swollen and had black-and-blue bruising that extended down through my neck and well into my chest).  He said that was the worst reaction he had seen in years, but again rejected my claim of allergy to the sutures.  He stated it had to be from a medication I was taking.  I told him that after my surgery last year, I was not on the pain medication for as long as I needed the Benadry, but he would not listen.  All of my gums were inflamed, but now at over 2 weeks post-op, I am finally off the Benadry.  I am researching this, so that maybe the next surgeon will listen to me.  By the way, I have been a registered nurse for 24 years, but apparently that does not give me credibility with a surgeon!  If they won't listen to me, I feel sorry for people who are not in the medical profession...
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I am at this site because I googled "stitches causing hives?"  I am a 55 year old male, and have never had hives.  Last spring I had my dermatoligist check a large mole (3/4 inch) on my groin which I had for years and appeared to be growing and changing color.  After a biopsy, it was diagnosed as Bowens Disease- a surface skin cancer which had to be removed.  I early July of this year it was removed in out-patient.  The incision was more than an inch to get the beyond the borders of the growth, and two layers of sutures were used, the inner dissolving sutures and the outer sutures which were removed after ten days.  About 1 week after the surgery, I awoke and when I got ready for my morning shower I was shocked to discover welts coverng my abdomen and front of both thighs.  My wife is a nurse and she told me to call the doctor immediately as it may be an infection.  The dermatologist got me right in.  The welts were diagnosed as hives, but he would not make the correlation to the surgery a week before because the hives were not specific to the immediate area of the incision.  He prescribed Zytec.  By noon the welts were completely down, and only faintly red and that was gone the next day.  I now suffer similar outbreaks about twice weekly with the same pattern, only sometimes the welts are on my buttocks region, lower back, and occasionally my chest and arms.  By noon they are gone.  I have noted the individual welts are smaller.  My wife says there still my be sutures dissolving.  I am highly suspicious that there is a direct connection between the two.  I am hoping that once the sutures are completely gone the outbreaks will stop
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I recently had my wisdom tooth out and had to have stiches. I have havd a wisdom tooth out before ( no stitches ) and the pain was feeling a lot better by the next day. This time however, I am still in a lot of pain evan nearly a week later. My whole jaw line is aching and burning at times. Im also getting aches in my neck, my eye, ear, temple and bad headaches. When I lay down it feels like someone is putting enormous pressure on that side of my head and crushing it. It is all only on the one side and does not seem to be letting up.
I once had an operation and had some internal stitches. A week later I developed a long looking red rash coming down from my naval which itched and hurt. I also got a mild case of hives, My doctor suggested it may have been an allergic reaction to stitches and that it would go away in few weeks when the tissues grew over the stitches. Yes it did all go away whithin a few weeks so now remembering that, I am wondering if maybe what i am experiencing now is an allergic reaction to the stitches in my mouth and not just pain from having the tooth pulled.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
my hives started 4 days after a triple laminectomy on my lower back accompanied by racing heart and a very intense body and head rush. my doc says my body is producing mass amounts of histamine. it also appears my liver is in overdrive.  it's been longer than 6 weeks, however I still have sutures coming out of my back. I'm wondering what the normal time for the sutures to dissolve would be.  
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I have had the same problem.  I had a c-section six months ago and ever since  I have had chronic uticartia hives.  they start about an inch above the incision and are huge.  They slowly grow up and out on my stomach then arms etc.  I have been on zyrtec but I do not know how much longer I will need to be on it.  No doctor seems to care and I've about had it.  How long can these last?  HOw long do stitches take to absorb?  I really feel this is the source of my allergy as i have not changed my diet at all.  
Blank
168348_tn?1379360675
Hi,

I think the stitches take about 6 to 8+ weeks to fully absorb.  That is what I was told when I had my thyroid and also several moles removed.  I have had issues with the stitches causing a condition called "spitting stitches" where they aren't absorbing and my body pushes them back out through the skin ... I ended up with some abscesses along the stitch line when I had my thyroid surgery but all is fine.  These are my thoughts as a patient, like you .. not a doctor.  Hope you feel better soon ... You haven't been using anything topical in the way of ointment that could cause the reaction as another thought.

WELCOME to our Community!

C~
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I had an adverse reaction to soluble stitches when they were used in my spinal fusion surgery at age 15 (am 23 now). I did not get sores, but I DID reject them (literally, they started coming out of my body), and then I got a bad infection and had to be treated for that.

Later, when I got my wisdom teeth out, I asked for normal stitches. When all was said and done, the doc said that I healed better and quicker with the normal stitches than was the average for his patients. He said that he would start mentioning normal stitches as an option to his patients.

I would say, if you've ever had a problem with them, talk to your doctor before any future elective surgery. You may not have to go through it again.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I had a breast reduction 3 years ago in which the dissolvable stitches were used.  I have had terrible itching, redness, welts, and pain.  The stitches are still popping out through the skin.  I get little pieces that come through.  They are transient and migrating under the skin.  I went to 3 doctors who said I couldn't be allergic to the stitches.  I am also allergic to latex.  The doctors tried to tell me it was just bad keloid scarring.  I am in so much pain I cannot wear a bra.  Finally, my new doctor is referring me for removal or remediation of the surgery.  This has ruined my sex life and my self esteem.  My partner claims my breasts taste like plastic.  I am shaken to say the least.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
i just got back from my 5 wk post op from a hysterectomy and for the last five days i have been fighting a bad case of hives. My doctor lookes at the inflamation (inflammation) at all the insition sites and said that it was from the stiches... I have already went through 2 boxes of benedryl aand the hives on my feet and hands never get relief! Ugh...Its not easy to tolerate but he said in a couple of wks i should be over them!

                            justanangel
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I had epicondlyitis surgery about 5 weeks ago. 2 days post-op there was a huge red welt covering my elbow, the Dr. thought it was the beginning of an infection and perscribed some anitbiotics. Well about a week after my surgery I started developing hives all over my body. I immediately started taking Zyrtec, which seemed to alleviate the itching. I could not figure out what was causing the allergic reaction. Finally through the process of elimination I figured out it was the dissolving stitches they had used. When I told my Dr. he would not believe it was from the stitches...but I KNOW IT IS! How long will it take for the hives to stop???  Why do people get reactions to these stitches? What are they made of?
Blank
1446635_tn?1284562486
5 years ago I had a partial hysterectomy, after I was released from the hospital and came home 2 days later, I was spitting stitches. My ob just said to lie still longer.  Didn't matter, they spewed out every bathroom visit anyway.  She said enough of them stayed and I was healed enough, well I've had abdominal pain ever since, now I'm scheduled for exploratory surgery because the abdominal pain is so painful. Every time I sneeze or cough there's a sharp pain at the abdominal area of my sutures from the surgery.  Then one year prior to that was the miscarriage and when i awoke from that, I had the hives.  Then any small cyst or nodule I've ever had removed topically, the stitch has always worked it's way out and infected the area, for as much as 10 years, and noone said It was due to my allergicness to the stitch.  I've just come to accept it! I think I now at 43 have the attention of my surgeons and I'm allergic to 'everything' under the sun. But at least I'm still alive to raise my children. :)
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I'm allergic to c-vicryl sutures.  I had a doctor refuse to take me off of prenatals after I had my second child, and it caused a rip in the rectum. I had to have rectal surgury from the fisher that wouldn't heal.  About 20 months later, while pregnant, I got food poisoning and because the stitch area was still a problem (which I didn't know about) it caused a vaginal/rectal abcess (abscess).  That ruptured into the vagina and the baby had to be delivered by c-section.  Almost 12 years later, a new doctor felt I needed to have the vaginal rectal fistula repaired, and when that surgeon was working on me, she found a wad that she sent off to a lab, thinking it was a tumor or something.  When the lab results came back, it was the sutures from the rectal surgery that had never disolved and my body was still fighting them!  Unfortunately, she had used the same sutures also, because she didn't know either, and 9 months after that, another abcess (abscess) developed from those sutures that wouldn't disolve and she had to do the entire surgery over.  NOW, because of lymph node pain in the groin, and a left leg that has swelling problems,  it occured to me that I HAD A C-SECTION and they probably used the same sutures for that.  I'm in the middle of seeing doctors, and the most probable next step is exploratory surgery to see if indeed the prior sutures are the problem for my pain all these years, 21 to be exact! I have had a painful spot since the day of my c-section in the aproximate area of where they sewed up the uterus.  I've been looking online tonight to find out as much info as I could regarding others being allergic to c-vicryl sutures.  I hope this info I'm shareing will help someone else to seek help if they are still having pain in an area of a prior surgery.  Hugs from Missouri...
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I had the vicryl stiches so I'm wondering what type I need now?  we want another baby but i'm terrified I will have more hives!  What are the most safe?
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Very interesting - I never thought to consider the allergy aspect but it has answered so much for me. I have a latex allergy have had for many years and over the years have undergone several surgeries. My C section was stitched on the inside and clips used outside. The stitches never disolved I was pulling them out through the skin years later. I had surgery on both my arms recently and the first one I went back after 10 days my lower arm was covered in raised welts... the itching had kept me up at night!! I thought it was exema (eczema)! the nurse snipped the top of the stitch and pulled it from the other end, ( just one long one stitch knotted each end) she said it was a little early to do but it had healed nicely, when it came out she said it looked like new! The next arm I was going back later to see consultant, I recall both my upper and lower arm were raised and itcing with the welts.... and whilst healed the surgical site was pulling the stitch so I removed it myself! -
I have recently undergone further major surgery and have many internal disolveable - stitches the internal itching is agony! i dont know what to do. My lymph nodes in the groin are raised and painful, my legs are itching I scratch till they bleed, I now realise from what I have read it is likely this is an allergy - I wish I had worked it out sooner with the arms!! We need to educate the medical profession. I know what an ordeal it was when so many were not familiar with Latex allergies and I would take my own gloves for them particularly as my son had a latex allergy also and underwent a lot of surgery. This is a terrible dilemma but at least I know now!
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
hello,

a month ago i had a surgery. a titanium screw was inserted into my broken index finger. internal dissolvable stitches MAY used (not sure). Also I took tylanol/codeine, and probably I've got antibiotics during the surgery.

Everything was fine, but 8 days (!) after the surgery I broke out in terrible, unbearable rash, redness and hives all over my body. At 8am I was at the dermatologist (couldnt sleep all night b/c of the itchiness) who diagnosed me with very severe (10/10) dermographia. It's a skin condition when pressure, scratching will trigger welding, bumps, hives, and itchiness anywhere you press or skretch your skin.

I never had any allergies before. Now I'm trying to figure out, why do I'm going through on this hell? It's been a month now and it's still on. It's the titanium? Well officially it's 100% biocompatible but recent tests showing it's NOT! About 4% of the people are allergic to this material even if doctor's doesn't admitting it! Or stitches? I have to ask if I have any. Or some painkiller/antibiotics?

This is hell on earth, doesn anyone had similar dermographism symptoms as I've described above? The hives/itchiness can be triggered by pressure/skretching at any given point of my body.

There is definitely something irritating is in my body and my immunes system is fighing against that!
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
If the all stitches were removed you would not be getting symptoms still, any stitchure remaining would of a different kind, hives could just be an allergy to something else or stress.

I happen to have rare allergy to vicryl stitches, which didnt have any symptoms til 7 months later a blister came out on my scar and kept reopening in weekly intervals and over time the intervals got shorter, i ended up with deadly infection that was in my knee the whole time for 7 months and never showed up on blood tests. Took a swab from the knee to find it, but i had bleeding sinus, continous infection, severe ulceration, bleeding in the knee, swelling never went down after surgery. I had the stitches cleaned out and was fine after wards but had post op infection, but then another stitchure made its way out my knee by surfacing to the skin and making itself a hole to come out of, i wasnt allergic to the left over stitchure as it was different kind. But if you had your stitches cleansed out you shouldnt be getting any reaction unless they have cleaned out the stitchue you are allergic to properly
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Dear Tamas77, I am extremely allergic to titanium.  Unfortunately, three years ago, I had a surgeon who didn't really believe anyone could be allergic to titanium and placed 2 tiny titanium clamps deep in my armpit and 2 close to the tail of my breast tissue.  I was suffering SEVERE LASTING pain.  I had a mastectomy six months later and the surgeon, who also stated there were no documented cases of allergic reactions to titanium, believed me and dug the two clips out of the tail of my breast.  She stated it would be near impossible to find the two deep in my armpit without tearing the tissue into shreds, so she left them there.  I have really painful symptoms in my shoulder, arm and ribcage and my body seems to feel weak.  My neck is always in excruciating pain and chiropractic adjustments don't hold.  Neither does the benefit of a great massage.  I discovered this allergy years ago when a chiropractor was placing tiny titanium beads on acupressure points all over my body.  Within 20 minutes, I would have gaping holes underneath the beads; and upon removal of the beads, it would take over a month for these tiny, painful holes to heal.

What I do for myself to lessen the severity of the issue, is I very diligently eat an anti-inflammatory diet (there are tons of info. on the internet about anti-inflammatory foods), which, for me, includes:   excluding all goitrogenic foods (there is also many different lists on the internet of these foods.  I combined several different lists for my own personal reference) and nightshades (foods which include high amounts of solanine), most grains, most dairy, poultry and pork.  I've also have had some relief by using homeopathics.  

I hope you find some of this information helpful.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
i had an acl replacement last february...7 days after surgery, the incision sites were red and itchy.  10 days post-op, i developed blister-like lesions and the localized swelling had increased.  all symptoms finally disappeared at the 6-week post-op mark...but i know i was miserable.  this all points to my being allergic to the dissolving suture materials.  how, you may ask, do i know this?  further empirical proof occured when my sister had major surgery (over two weeks ago), and at the 7 day mark, she, too was absolutely miserable.  she has been using so much benadryl that she sleeps most of the day and night.  she also uses prescription steroidal topical cream.  why won't surgeons listen?  for such intelligent people, they sure are stupid.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I had my gallbladder removed 2 weeks ago today and at all of the incision locations I am swelled up, have hives and itch like crazy. I have the dissolvable stitches at each location and am wondering if I am having an allergic reaction to them. The surgeon said she feels it's from the glue they put over the stitches after the surgery, but I think that is not the case. The glue had been gone from 3 of the incision spots for a while before I started having these symptoms. I feel it has to be the stitches causing me to be this miserable. I've been taking Benadryl like the surgeon recommended along with hydrocortisone cream on each location which neither seem to be helping. I am unable to sleep or get comfortable because of the itching. Please help
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
when i was 17 i had dissolving stitches that never dissolved. I went threw a double lumpectomy..yep at 17...and they used them. Both sites because nasty green and pus covered and very infected. It was worse when i had gauze covering the site. I went to my doctor who told me i was allergic to the stitches. I had to do weekly visits for over a month so he could remove stitches as the migrated to the surface and so he could clean the area. I discovered that year that I am allergic to latex and that the stitches had a latex coating.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I had surgery 12 years ago. I still have lumps over my upper abdomen. they become red and swell every once in a while, much like an abcess (abscess). Eventually they rupture and in the drainage, is always a stitch. Some times it appears just to be a fibrous material, and sometimes it is still tied in a knot. What do I do?
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Oh, bless your heart ! I am going through this reaction but it's "only" on my knee. I am just miserable - starting about 3 wk.s after surgery for a broken knee, the incision turned dark red & began itching intensely. A few days later little pinholes began opening up, which progressed to the wound dehiscing in the middle and becoming infected. Went through one round of antibiotics and it got better. Then another area opened up, & now, at 6 wk.s, the rest of the incision has burst open with pus, but neither my surgeon nor my G.P. has been very responsive. My lung Dr. actually gave me the antibiotics for it this time ! (yes, I also  developed blood clots that traveled to my lungs.) I am just wondering when is this all going to stop so it can heal ! So discouraging to have one complication after another. I will NEVER have another surgery without telling them not to use dissolvable sutures !
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
In 2008 I had 2 knee surgeries that involved dissolving sutures. Both times I broke out in hives all over my body at about 1 week post-op, the point in time when the sutures begin to dissolve. My surgeon was just insistent that it could not be a reaction to the sutures; he had never seen it before and if it was the sutures the symptoms would be localized to the area surrounding the incision. Excuse me for knowing, but "absorbing" sutures means the absorbed material will become systemic, thus the hives all over my body.

Just 2 weeks ago I had breast augmentation, again with dissolving sutures. Wouldn't you know, my entire chest and armpits are covered in hives. I am on fire with itchiness! Not only that but my hands are breaking out; I even have hives on my palms. They are starting to spread to other areas of my body as well. Good thing "it's not possible" to be allergic to the sutures, according to my knee surgeon! I'm pretty darn convinced he's wrong!

Taking Benadryl before bed has been a great treatment; I'm actually able to sleep through the night without digging at myself (which I did for the first 2 nights that this started). I take Zyrtec in the morning but by the evening they are peaking again. I'm wondering if I can take Zyrtec early in the morning and Claritin later in the day, so I have relief during that period from about 4pm to 10pm before I take the Benadryl. I can't take a second dose of either one, but since they are different drugs maybe I could take one dose of each at different points in the day?
Blank
Post a Comment
To
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Allergy Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating Control: How to St...
Aug 28 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
233488_tn?1310696703
Blank
New Cannabis Article from NORTH Mag...
Jul 20 by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank
Top Asthma & Allergy Answerers
Avatar_f_tn
Blank
evewisewoman
Toronto, ON
746512_tn?1388811180
Blank
Tammy2009
Calgary, AB
612551_tn?1247839157
Blank
Jerry_NJ
NJ
363281_tn?1353103243
Blank
SassyLassie
Hanmer Springs, New Zealand