Dissolvable stitches are one of modern medicine’s most simple – and genius – inventions, reducing the time that patients have to spend in hospital and eliminating the need for follow-up appointments when stitches are removed. These types of stitches are also more elastic, making them a much more suitable choice for areas of the body that need to bend. On joints like the knee, sturdier sutures run the risk of tearing and damaging the wound. But how exactly do they work? Dissolvable stitches, known amongst medical professionals as absorbable sutures, are made from a form of sugar or from other materials that can be easily decomposed by the body, such as processed collagen or silk. Your body is programmed to recognise anything it does not recognise as a pathogen, so your cells identify the stitches as a foreign invader and proceed to destroy them. Most types of dissolvable stitches take between 7 and 14 days to be broken down and absorbed by your cells.