Wound Stapled, Stitched or Glued? Here’s the Type of Scar You Can Expect

Wound Stapled, Stitched or Glued? Here’s the Type of Scar You Can Expect

After surgery or a deep wound, your doctor will close the wound with sutures (stitches), glue, staples, or a combination of these. Securing the edges of the wound together is crucial for healing, but the type of skin closure can impact the appearance of the final scar. Depending on the way your doctor closed the wound, here’s the type of scar you can expect:

Staples

A staple incision closure is more consistent and faster than stitches. Surgical staples are disposable and are made of plastic or stainless steel. The problem with most skin staples is that they can leave permanent marks on the skin that create a “train track” look.

Sutures

Sutures are the most common way to close wounds, including incisions after surgery. The doctor basically sews the skin edges back together. Sutures can be permanent or absorbable. If permanent sutures are used to close the top skin layer, these need to be removed once the skin has healed. Absorbable sutures dissolve on their own over time once the tissues have healed and don’t need to be removed. Large sutures that are left in the skin for too long can lead to scars that look like stitching.

Glue

Smaller wounds that are not very deep may be put back together using special adhesive glue. This works similar to stitches and staples in that it secures the skin edges back together to promote the healing of the wound or incision. Skin glue does not leave “train track” or “stitch” marks.

Most Important Factors for the Best Scar

Whether you have staples, stitches, or just glue to help your wound heal, there are a few shared factors that promote the best looking scar. First and foremost, you want to be sure that the wound edges are lined up anatomically. Your doctor should ensure that the two layers of skin properly line up with one another. This helps the skin to heal more seamlessly, rather than looking jagged.
The depth and length of the injury, as well as the location, also affect the appearance of the scar. Certain lifestyle and genetic factors, including gender, race and age, also influence scarring. To promote healing and have the best looking scar, care for the wound correctly, eat healthily, drink plenty of water, and don’t smoke. Follow your doctor’s orders, which typically include keeping the area clean, covered, out of the sun, and moist to promote healing.

Once the wound has healed, ask your doctor if you are ready to start using a topical scar treatment to reduce the long-term appearance of your scar as much as possible.

Have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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Comments

  1. The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please speak to your doctor to treat any medical condition. Information on this site is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
  2. Natasha Williams says:

    I had to get stitches back in August of this year because I blacked out and hit my forehead on my closet door. The laceration wasn’t as deep so the doctor only put two stitches in my head. I kept the stitches in for seven days. Now you can see where the stitches were put in at and the color is black. I’m not dark skinned. I’m brown skinned but the scar is darker than my original color. It’s been about six weeks now and I put coco butter on it everyday. Will the color be permanent and not to mention the wound itself looks more of my color but the surrounding area is black??

    • Hi Natasha, it sounds like hyperpigmentation on those areas, which is fairly normal with scarring. Cocoa butter is great for keeping it moisturized (it’s vital in scar healing), but that alone won’t fade the pigmentation. You need a scar treatment with a stable form of Vitamin C. If you are in the US – InviCible Scars is available on Amazon. Apply it twice a day for 12 weeks (one tube lasts about 6.) Since this scar is on your face, also make sure to wear sunscreen daily, as UV rays will darken scars further (but unlike a tan, they will not fade.)

    • Pinky Kapadia says:

      even I had got stitches 2 years back still the marks are not gone even I want to remove my marks

  3. Hi I had surgery 7 days ago, when I left the hospital the nurse told me to remove the dressing the next day but I did not. One of the wounds of still bleeding through my skin and other wound was opened (they are small incisions) I changed the dressing and cover them again. Next day I went to the OBGYN office and the person who saw me said it looked great and she said “it is not open ” she asked if I wanted stitches and I said yes… Now 7 days after that, I removed the stitches and the wound look dry but still open.. I took a picture and sent to a friend nurse and she said its open . I can see through it …
    I don’t want to go back to the OBGYN department I am tired of the hospital they have been horrible people. After the surgery less than a hour the nurses rushing me to get dressed and go home, I I vomited while I was putting my clothes on by itself, they did not make pee as I heard they should have done and they didn’t explain me nothing about what to expect after the surgery. When I get back home I had a lot of vaginal bleeding which I didn’t know it was normal or not, then I couldn’t pee for several hours. I had to go back to emergency to get a catheter inserted to drain the pee and I had blood everywhere on my clothes because I was bleeding a lot from the belly button wound. It has been horrible specially because I am by myself I don’t have a boyfriend or family here.
    I just want to know if there is anything I can do at home to take care of the wounds and if because the wound reopened it means I will have a horrible scar ?

    • Hi Sofia, I’m so sorry to hear about your terrible experience and that you’re still having issues with your incision. Incisions that reopen can heal with larger scars but it is way too soon to tell. It will take a while to really know. Even after scars heal, they take a year (sometimes 2) to really mature and start to look better. Scars can still fade beyond that time. In the meantime, keep the wound clean. Call your doc to ask when you can run clean water over it in the shower. Showering with hibiclens (no prescription required) helps decrease the risk of infection.

  4. Hi, I am preparing to have knee replacement surgery in a month. I have talked to my doctor about sutures instead of staples. I don’t want a Frankenstein looking scar. I know that staples are quicker, but I want to minimize this scar. I am terrified about this scar, as I have seen other’s long after surgery. Am I correct in thinking that sutures will leave a “better” scar?

    • Hi Lisa, it all depends on your current health, your lifestyle (do you eat healthily, exercise, a non-smoker, etc.) and how your body heals wounds. The best person to answer that would be your dr.

    • Hi Lisa – I can tell you does depend on your skin,. However my mom had a full knee replacement and had Staples. I was amazed how well it healed! After a year most people didn’t notice and after 2 years I had to ask here which was done because her scar had faded so much. I will say do keep sunscreen on the scar or it will be more noticeable.
      Good luck with surgery! My mom wondered why she had waited so long to get her’s done. It was so much easier afterwards. I can also tell you physical therapy is a must! Don’t skip it.

  5. Nimisha Parag says:

    Iam planning to get my black Mole (a small one) on face removed through surgery as per my doctor’s advice. which method of wound closure leaves less scar??

  6. Courtney says:

    I just had bunion surgery a month ago and my scar has healed up like train tracks and ive been applying cocoa butter to it everyday for the last week and a half , and it seems to be helping a lil not really do you know what I can do to help minimize it The scar is light in the middle and darker around the outside help please

  7. Kathy Connors says:

    I was bitten by a dog 5 weeks ago. The ER used Dermabond on the wound….it came off after about 5 days. At 5 week I am left with about a 1.5 inch line across my face with a huge lump above, which i am assuming is scar tissue. I have been using Maderma cream and sunscreen for day and silicone patches at night. I have seen zero improvement the last 3.5 weeks. Is there any else i can do??

    • Hi Kathy, 3.5 weeks is too short a period of time to see any improvement. Typically, it takes 12 weeks or more. Keep up the consistency of application and also utilize scar massage to soften the scar tissue.

  8. Yes hello I had a compression back surgery the Dr took out Staples .later I used peroxide like they say I look at my back lower back has a pink spot like a scaled been pulled off once it healed is that pink look normal..help

    • Hi Cloie, initially peroxide is good to kill the bad bacteria, however it’s not something to continue using especially because it also kills the good bacteria that aids in healing. How long has it been since the surgery? All scars are initially red/pink and can stay that way for a few years (or longer depending on lifestyle – healthy vs not so much.) If you have your dr’s clearance, you should be able to begin applying a scar cream consistently to reduce the discoloration.

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