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Warning! Severe reactions to Vicryl sutures--months of pain.

Warning! Severe reactions to Vicryl sutures--months of pain.

Postby FaithA » Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:49 am

Hello again,

I have a very important warning for potential cosmetic surgery patients, and if I had known of this problem, I could have been saved a lot of pain and heartache. My surgeon used Vicryl sutures above and behind the ears, and at 2 months post surgery, four areas have split open, begun healing, then split open again. This horrible process is very painful and messy. I had what is known as an inflammatory reaction to these internal sutures and as a result, have had serious, large wound separation at four incision sites that will not heal.

There have been so many complaints and reactions of varying degrees to these sutures, the manufacturer voluntarily recalled them last March. However, many physicians are not aware of the recall and the sutures continue to be used nationwide in many hospitals and surgery centers.

No matter how skilled and experienced your surgeon is, and no matter how compliant and prepared you are, including your age and state of health, there is a possibility that you could have an inflammatory reaction to these sutures. Your body will continue to try to reject them, and in doing so, will make scar tissue around them, try to push them to the surface, causing surrounding tissues to be red, swollen, inflammed and potentially infected. The pain will vary from hour to hour from mild throbbing to sudden, sharp stinging pain as if you were stung by a bee or a thorn were stuck in the area of the incision. Getting a decent night's sleep is nearly impossible, and sometimes smiling or even blinking can hurt.

I highly suggest that you ask your surgeon if he or she uses these sutures, and if alternatives exist. This is not a significantly uncommon reaction--many people have had a range of complications from their use. I have done some literature searches and discovered individuals who are still having painful complications from these sutures after 12 to 24 months.

Please be careful, and I wish everyone the best.
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Postby fayzedout » Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:28 am

I second your warning. I have been having trouble with these type of stitches in my abdomen and breasts for well over a year. My first album shows one of the milder problems I had on my breast. My abdomen was opened almost all the way across to remove 4 large suture granulomas 1 year after TT. I'm having a facelift plus next week and my (new) ps assured me he does not use these type of sutures on the head.
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Postby FaithA » Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:40 am

Thanks so much for your reply. I'm so sorry for the problems that the sutures caused for you, too. I'm really, really hoping I won't have to go back in for another surgery (or surgeries) to remove these stupid sutures. Good for you for making sure your new ps won't be using those sutures again. Your facelift will go very well, I'm sure, and you'll look gorgeous. You deserve it!
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Postby MissJ521@aol.com » Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:30 am

I've read your posts concerning the problems with the Vicryl sutures and have included some links having to do with the issue. It does appear that some legal action is being pursued on this in the form of a class action suit. That said, there is a problem with those sutures and perhaps you could ask the administrators of MMH to make your warning (and perhaps some of these links) into a "sticky post". ... s&ie=UTF-8 ... s&ie=UTF-8


http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/ar ... tures.html

http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/ar ... tures.html


http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/ca ... ef=article
Last edited by MissJ521@aol.com on Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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opening from sutures

Postby acshull » Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:25 pm

Wow-what an awful way to find out there had been a problem with the sutures!
It is pretty scary to think there was a recall and they are still being used.
I didn't read all of the posts but you are seeing someone and not trying to treat this yourself?
You are right-we can do all of the right things and homework and no risk factors and still-whenever you chose to have surgery-you are open to risk.
I hope you are able to have this resolved very quickly and with no further problems!!!!
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Postby natasha1 » Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:00 pm

That is interesting that this posted surfaced .I was asking about it 2 years ago over and over again and nobody had nothing to say.I did not have face lift or body work, just u/l bleph with canthopexy in May 2005. When my eyes settled a little, I started seeing these knots in the outer corners. I went to my surgeon and she told me that these are Vycril and they will dissolve on their own at 1 year point. They did not disappear neither at one year nor at two, still there.The doctors I consulted said to leave it alone because at this point scar tissue grew over them and dissecting them could cause a lot of problems.They never got inflamed, there is no pain or visible infection but they never dissolved either and look very unsightly. I do not think that anybody including my surgeon would be responsible for using them as for many other things that they did to us.
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Postby Refreshme » Sat Oct 27, 2007 7:00 am

Bless you for the warning I just looked over my medical report and that's what the dr. used, no wonder I was in pain and infection for months, still have pain after 17 months.
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Postby FaithA » Sat Oct 27, 2007 1:23 pm

Thank you for much for sharing your experiences and advice. I wanted to also share with you that I went in to see my surgeon last Thursday and got an incredible shock. The first time, at about 4 - 5 weeks, four suture areas opened up very wide, leaving huge, gaping long and painful holes in my head, he insisted it was the vicryl sutures and "...had seen this reaction before." Over the next couple of weeks I healed fairly well, with new tissue granulating in to fill in those deep wounds. So as of week 7 I was, according to the surgeon's chart, "almost healed in all areas." Then, as I wrote, the wounds slowly began draining and over a period of days split open again--this time wider and deeper and extremely painful. I do have a really high pain tolerance but this chronic pain--the stinging, burning, throbbing and deep ache--is starting to wear me down. When I went in to see my surgeon last Thursday, he was NOT happy, and his first reaction was to suggest that I must have done something wrong. He said, "I've never, ever seen anything like this and I've never even heard about anything like this!" He then decided this second "opening" wasn't the fault of the vicryl sutures, even 'though he initially said it was as he was pulling those infected, "disolvable" sutures out of the back of my head as they were working their way up on week 6. He again muttered to himself, "What did you do?" What I do? Nothing. I have never smoked, am not diabetic, am in excellent health, have not exercised for 9 weeks or engaged in any type of strenuous activity! In fact, I could feel these areas opening up again during the night and early morning when I was in bed. I have to say, the only thing worse than being in a lot of pain and not feeling any support whatsoever from your surgeon is being made to feel as if you are responsible for what you are going through and since you're "the only one" this has ever happend to, I felt like a freak of sorts.
I managed to tell him that I did a literature search (a really good search of valid and credible journals) and found many cases and articles on people who had internal vicryl sutures that did NOT dissolve, and had to have one or more surgeries later to remove all of them. They kept healing up, then splitting open, then healing, then splitting. One case described how all the "dissolvable" vicryl sutures had crystallized, and one had become so infected the woman almost died. But this surgeon (I didn't mention the cases) would have none of it. He snapped that it was definitely not the sutures and they were all dissolved by now and he didn't have a clue what was causing these ever-growing wounds to keep opening (and I think he just wanted me out of there.) So now I'm on antibiotics again and I am scheduled to go to his office next week. If things don't go the way he wants, he's suggested that he will then sew all of the wounds closed. Really? Is that a good idea? If there are foreign bodies in there or worse, is that a good idea to stitch them closed? What if they open again for a third time? If this surgeon can't come up with even one reason for these gaping wounds to keep opening up, I'm a getting a little anxious. I have read extensively on wound healing throughout the years because of my work, but in order to take action, it's a good idea to know WHY the wounds will not heal.
I would appreciate hearing from you and if any of you have had any similar experiences with your surgeons not knowing what has caused your surgical complications, please let me know. Thanks, and take care.
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Postby DCNGA » Sat Oct 27, 2007 1:44 pm

Just, IMHO, but I think fear is what causes these doctors facing unhappy or poorly healing patients to place the blame on their patients. If not fear, then ego. Either way, it is cowardly. Maybe in a litigious society their fear is founded, but I think it's only ethical and compassionate to admit when a problem may not be immediately explainable or even may be the doctor's own fault. Honestly, after reading this forum and other similar information for the last couple of years, I don't think the vast majority of doctors are going to grow an ethical conscience in this area because of their fears of law suits or damage to their ego (i.e. reputation). Maybe it's human nature, or maybe it's just one more way in which we have to decide if we are willing to live with the "results", whether negative or positive, when we undergo elective, plastic surgery.

I don't mean to sound insensitive to your problems, at all. I sincerely hope some doctor will be compassionate enough to help you and get to the bottom of it all. It's the worst when what happens to us has to become the example for others of when things go wrong.

But, that's just my opinion and it may be flawed.

Last edited by DCNGA on Sat Oct 27, 2007 2:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby klara777 » Sat Oct 27, 2007 1:52 pm

FaithA, did you see a wound specialist or/and infectious decease doctor?
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Postby MissJ521@aol.com » Sat Oct 27, 2007 2:01 pm


Unfortunately, this sounds like a(nother) situation where the patient has done MORE research on the topic than has the doctor. It's unfortunate because once you start citing references (and mind you references that THEY should have read themselves), some of them 'shift' into denial and start blaming the patient.

According to some of the links I provided, the sutures were RECALLED. This calls into question why he used sutures that were recalled or why he was not up to information having to do with that in the first place.

I think you should ask him if he filed a report (concerning your reaction) to the suture manufacturer. It is my opinion that documenting your reactions (as a case study type thing) and sending them along to the suture manufacturer would be a more responsible thing for him to do than 'blame' you for having the reaction you did.
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Postby Refreshme » Sun Oct 28, 2007 5:12 am

Faith I would go to another doctor for a second opinion. It's a shame they won't or can't tell you it's the sutures. I wouldn't want him to stitch them up without taking out the problem ones. I think if my sutures dissolved I would have some relief in my neck. I have those pings of pain and in the morning it's so tight it hurts. Probably scar tissue forming around the sutures. I need to get this fixed but was saving money for the revision but I better get out the charge card and have it done soon. My neck was infected for months and twice to boot!!! I would lay in bed crying from the pain. This is not fun!!!
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Postby eyes2 » Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:52 am

I wish I read this 5 weeks ago. I didn't know that Vicryl stitches were recalled again. I just started looking at the Internet (my eyes hurt me too much before today to focus alot.) I did a search on "stitch abscess" and found a discussion in rhinoplasty, and I just did a post there. I also learned that Vicryl stitches were recalled in 1997 and later put back on the market. But I am going to add my post to this discussion too, since I think something has to be done about this problem. I also just remembered that my doctor mentioned that another patient she just examined also coincidentally had an infection from the stitches, but not as bad as mine. And figure how many other people have this problem and haven't found this website!

I had surgery to correct ecotropion (a turning out and down of the lower eyelid) 5 weeks ago. When I returned in one week to have the undissolvable stitches removed, my left eye was completely swollen and fluid was draining through the chorion and my eye was gelatinous. My undissolvable stitches were fine, but the few Vicryl stitches she used externally were infected. She said that it appears that I must be allergic to vicryl stitches. The ones by the corner of the left eye so bad that they were abscessed and had to be drained. I was put on the oral antibiotic clindamycin and also prednisone. I continue to use an antibiotic steroid ointment and drops. My eyes are getting better, but still swollen more than they should, and I still wake up in the middle of the night because they are bothering me. Sometimes they feel like there is alot of pressure behind them. My doctor is excellent. She checked my eyes yesterday and has been seeing me weekly. She said she can see me in three weeks now. She also told me that it takes 6-12 weeks for the vicryl to dissolve completely. I just did an internet search and see other people with recent problems with vicryl. All I want is to get better. Doctor, is Vicryl again presenting a problem? (I saw that it was recalled in the 1990's because of infections.) I don't want anyone else to go through this problem caused by stitches.
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vicryl and ethicon stitches

Postby ebeb » Thu Jan 31, 2008 11:07 am

I've also read somewhere something negative about ethicon stitches. Something about contamination and maybe the same problems as the vicryl.

If I had any problem with something like this - I'd notify everyone myself and carbon copy my doctor. I'd write the medical board, ISAP, all the societies of plastic surgery, my general practioner, and ask them where I can make sure nobody else goes through what you have went through.

It's not enough to trust a wormy egotistical doctor to do this. But I would be sure I put it in writing to him and send it where he has to sign for it that you have researched these stitch problems, and tell him where he can look and this is what you believe your problems are from. tell him in no way have you not done everything you are supposed to, and you don't appreciate him insinuating blame on you. Don't be intimidated by this selfish doctor. The public deserves to be protected and informed.

Big companies and doctors have a way of hiding things.
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