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How Long Do Surgical Staples Stay In?

author image Ken Chisholm
Ken Chisholm is a freelance writer who began writing in 2007 for LIVESTRONG.COM. He has experience in health care, surgery, nursing and orthopedics as an orthopedic physician assistant and a registered nurse. He holds a bachelor's degree in business from the University of Findlay, Ohio.
How Long Do Surgical Staples Stay In?
How Long Do Surgical Staples Stay In? Photo Credit Picture courtesy of Google Images

For general surgery procedures

Surgical staples that are used on the skin for general surgery procedures are typically left in place a minimum of 10 days, and more frequently, 14 days. These procedures commonly involve the abdomen and chest areas. Staples are left in to ensure maximum skin healing and minimize the potential for delayed wound opening.

Staples on facial and scalp wounds

Because scalp wounds have a very rich blood supply, they tend to heal a bit faster than many other areas of the body. In many instances, surgical staples can be removed after seven to 10 days. Conversely, because scalp wounds frequently involve hair in and around the skin edges, some practitioners choose to leave the staples in place for at least two weeks to minimize potential of contaminants from the hair getting into the wound.

Because any kind of wound, whether surgical or traumatic, produces some level of scar formation, facial wounds are treated very delicately. Many facial wounds are not closed with staples, but those that are usually don't require them more than five to seven days, at which time they are removed, in favor of other closure techniques and products, to minimize the potential for unsightly scar formation.

Orthopedic procedures

Many orthopedic procedures, such as joint replacements, involve incisions directly over a joint. These wounds can be subjected to high stress upon the skin during bending and straightening, such as that seen in the knee or elbow. For this reason, surgical staples are commonly left in place for about two weeks.

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