Removal of Skin Sutures, Wound Clips, and Staples
Approved November 19, 1998 (Download)
Background: Sutures, wound clips, and staples are frequently used for the closure of surgical incisions and other skin wounds in laboratory animals. Incisions closed by these techniques or devices require frequent observation until the healing process is reasonably complete. Intervention may be required during these early healing stages to replace sutures, clips, or staples, provide additional local or systemic treatment or drainage, and finally to remove sutures or devices at the optimal time, usually around 7 to 10 days. The primary problem encountered with the use of wound closure devices is that wound clips are sometimes not removed in a timely fashion. This can result in unnecessary irritation, pain, and possibly infection.
Policy: Protocols in which the use of skin sutures, wound clips, or staples is proposed to close surgical incisions or wounds should specify at least a daily monitoring schedule permitting early recognition and response to any developing problem. The time at which sutures or devices will be removed should be specified but not exceed 2 weeks, if appropriate (removal of absorbable sutures may not be required). Exceptions may be permitted if justified and approved by the ACC. For example, in DNA injected embryo transfer recipient mice, since dams should not be disturbed until after pups are at least one week of age. Special monitoring should not be required after the time sutures and wound clips or staples are removed.