Some wounds or incisions of surgery cannot be closed by stitches and/or sutures. In such cases, doctors use surgical staples that help in reducing the healing time of the wound. Staples are used in connecting or removing certain parts of the body and require special care as they don’t dissolve by themselves when the wound heals. Instead, they are removed by a medical professional when it’s time.
There are many different types of surgical staples and each serves a different purpose. Most are made of titanium, stainless steel, plastic, and polylactide-polyglycolide copolymer as they are immune system and MRI scanner friendly.
This article will act as a heads up for everyone who needs to know about these staples. Read on to know what surgical staples are and how do they stay on our bodies.
What are surgical staples and why do we need them?
These staples first came to use in the 1950s. Since then they have been commonly used to remove bowel and lung parts, reduce the local inflammatory response, and width of the wound by acting as a hemostat that closes the blood vessels surrounding the wound and compresses its edges. Compared to sutures, surgical staples are more efficient at preventing any kind of leak.
Surgical staples are said to be less painful and reduce the time of surgical procedure used in conventional stitches. They are even considered to be sturdier to close big and open wounds and incisions.
One more advantage of surgical staples over typical stitches is that they reduce the appearance of scars on the body (those made of stainless steel and polylactide-polyglycolide copolymer).
How long do surgical staples stay in the body?
Surgical staples can stay inside the body any amount of time ranging from 5 to 21 days depending on the severity of the wound and the time it takes for the wound to heal.
The time for surgical staples to stay in the body also depends on the location they are stapled on. Factors that influence the duration of surgical staples on the body also include:
- Characteristics of the incision like size, direction, and type of surgical procedure.
- Whether the wound/incision is complex or simple.
- The healing time of the area or organ that the staples are used on.
Staples used on vertical incisions take around 7 to 10 days to heal as compared to the surgical staples on a horizontal incision which requires around 3-4 days of healing time. Examples of horizontal incisions include c-section and other gynecologic and orthopaedic surgeries.
In case you want to know if it’s time for your surgical staples to be removed, you can check for the following signs:
- The wound seems to have been healed completely in the sense that it does not reopen, and pain.
- There is no kind of fluid leakage like blood, and pus from and around the wound area.
- There isn’t any sign indicative of any kind of infection like abnormal colour and odour.
Removal of surgical staples
Surgical staples are removed by a manual device called that can be easily inserted under the skin because of its thin and narrow plate or show. To remove the staples, the active part of the stable, a small and sharp blade pushes the staple down when external pressure is applied. This process bends the surgical staples into an ‘M’ shape that sticks out and can easily be removed. They can also be removed by artery forceps or other different techniques if there is an emergency.
It is very important to know that any kind of surgical staples should not be removed by anyone who does not have a thorough knowledge of surgical staples. They should not be removed without expert supervision and there are imperative precautions to be taken before handling staples, sutures, or stitches. So it is best to leave this job to a certified professional to avoid any mishappenings.
Let us give you a clear idea about how the process of removing surgical staples is carried on.
- The professional will assess the wound area and start with removing anything covering the wound area like a cloth dressing.
- If the area is not infected and does not show any abnormal symptoms then your doctor will proceed further with the typical asepsis and sterilization of the wound area.
- He will carry on the aforementioned steps of putting pressure on the staples and turning them into an ‘M’ shape and writhing them out of the skin slowly.
- All the removed staples are kept on a sterile sheet to limit any contamination.
- After all the staples are removed, the doctor will put a strip on each destination where the staples were put.
It should be kept in mind that not all surgical staples can always be removed at once and that some staples are left to stay inside the body for long terms.
In some cases, if the incision is too big and the organ needs external support to be kept together, then the staples are left there forever. The situation and condition are for the medical professional to assess and they will give the best solution to it.
Care and complications of surgical staples
When surgical staples are inserted on the body, your doctor will give you some post-surgical advice and precautions. Some of them include rinsing the area with water or any medicinal ointment that the doctor recommends, not removing the dressing on the wound till it’s recommended by your doctor, replacing a bandage when it gets wet or dirty, and replacing it with a clean one only.
If proper care of surgical staples is not taken, then there are some risks like:
- The wound might get infected if not cleaned and looked after
- If the staples are not placed properly, bacteria might enter inside the open wound, causing complications.
- If an allergic reaction test is not performed beforehand, then it might get an allergic reaction to the metal or material of the surgical staples.
If there are any of the symptoms like severe unexplained pain, swelling, redness, pus, or discharge that looks yellow, green, or red and has a malodor, colour change of the area, fever, and/or inflammation, see a doctor immediately.
A medical professional usually takes all the precautions that are required before placing any kind of staples on the body to minimize and complications. And even if a certain mishappening takes place, with proper assessment it can be made to go away.
Surgical staples are an ingenious invention in medical science and we were as excited to learn about this development that will reduce the pain compared to the old stitches as you would be now.
We hope to keep giving you the exact thing that you are looking for and nothing less!