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staples removed after surgery

Staples Removed After Surgery – What’s It Like?

staples removed after surgery

If you’re facing surgery and are wondering what having staples removed after surgery is like then I am going to tell you exactly what it was like for me. Real, honest and open conversation based on my experience. 

Warning: there are some pictures in this of my staples which some people might find disturbing. 

Hey, I’m Rachel. When I was 30 I had a laparotomy to remove a borderline ovarian tumour. I recovered well, you can read about my recovery from my laparotomy here.

A laparotomy is open stomach surgery and one way to put you back together again once they are done is using staples.

Other methods are available but my surgeon chose staples – thanks for that!

This means that eventually you will have to have the staples removed after surgery. 

When the staples go in, you’re under anaesthetic so have no idea what this feels like (thank goodness?!). When you have staples removed after surgery, you’re wide awake. 

Staples Removed After Surgery

Pictured: My staples when I woke up from surgery

So if you’re feeling a little bit worried about having staples removed after surgery I can understand why. 

Personally I am not that much of a worrier and I go into things with a pretty open mind, not really realising what I am doing until I am laying on a nurses table and she approaches me with some kind of contraption to remove the staples. 


But it is not too bad. Here’s my experiences of having staples removed after surgery.

Staples Removed After Surgery – My Experience 

I had 32 staples from my belly button to just above my pelvic bone, so I had a fair few that needed to come out. I had them done a week apart, so they took 16 at a time and alternated them. 16 after one week, 16 after two weeks. 

I think (but did not confirm) that this was to give my stomach the chance to fully heal and go back together.

My understanding is that staples are a foreign body (they are literally metal staples! Think staple gun…) and your body won’t react overly well to this. Mine started to reject them after about a week, so I was VERY excited to get them out!

Pictured after one week (sorry the pic isn’t very clear!) 

Staples Removed After Surgery

My stomach had started to go red and get a little bit sore. Not so sore I needed painkillers every few hours but sore that I understood the statement ‘your body is rejecting them’ 

You can see in the red circle where it was sore… ouch!

staples removed after surgery

I had just been through open stomach surgery so I didn’t really think twice about the fact I would have to have the staples removed after surgery. How bad can it be after that?!

Turns out, it wasn’t pleasant. I really wasn’t prepared for it to hurt so I didn’t take any painkillers before I went in for the first time. 16 staples coming out is a lot, and it took around 20-30 minutes to do this.

As I said, the site where the staples were was also sore, so this didn’t help the fact it hurt a little. 

I have a fairly average pain tolerance level and I got through it with nice deep breaths. I didn’t need the nurse to stop but I do think she went very slowly and carefully for me. I couldn’t image a nurse being rough at that stage, you need someone to be delicate. 

When I went a week later for the second set of 16 staples to be removed after surgery I took my paracetamol and I was mentally more prepared. 

Pictured: Once I had all staples removed (Erm – is that toothpaste on my jumper?! Maybe!)

Staples Removed After Surgery

The site was a little more sore and red after a second week of the ‘foreign body’ so I wouldn be lying if I said it was pain free, but again I got through it with nice deep breaths and a patient and careful nurse. 

I also would like to add this was done at my GP’s rather than in hospital. Which is good because I very much in the recovery stage of my laparotomy, I couldn’t have gone around a big hospital. So it can be done at your GP’s, hopefully. It just makes it much easier for you. 

So my top tips for staples removed are surgery are: 

  1. Take paracetamol 30 mins before (as long as your not allergic etc!) 
  2. Try and get it done at your GPs rather than the hospital where you are at risk of infections and far too much walking!
  3. Ask your nurse to be gentle. If they aren’t, request someone else
  4. If it looks like your body is rejecting the staples after surgery, call your GP and see if you can get any removed early. It can really hurt when your body rejects them! 
  5. Focus on nice deep breathing when the staples are being removed

I hope this has helped you understand a little more about what it is like having staples removed after surgery. Any Qs just drop me an email [email protected] or message me on insta @itsourremedy – always happy to hear from you and help. 


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