My mom had a surgery on her wrist after she broke it and has some stitches that have to be taken out soon.

Last time I had a surgery our doctor (regular doctor, not the one who did the surgery, in german "Hausarzt") denied to take out the stitches, saying she isn't allowed to do that, the doctor who did the surgery has to do that, which the doctors at the hospital of course denied and said our doctor has to do it.

I find it a little strange that a regular doctor wouldn't be allowed to do that and I didn't find anything online that this issue is regulated by law here in Germany.

Are there any rules/ laws for this topic? I am not very keen on traveling back and forth from one doctor to another just to have some stitches to be taken out.

And no, for us it is no option to take them out ourselves. There are countless "Tutorials" online saying that's no problem. But we don't feel comfortable at all doing that, especially as it's on her wrist.

  • According to the "Gebührenordnung für Ärzte" public health insurance in Germany will reimburse your doctor with between 2.33 and (max 5.36) Euro for removing stitches, which seems a pretty good motive for not wanting to do it. As a last resort, you can look for a doctor without "Kassenzulassung" and pay out of our own pocket. Dec 20, 2023 at 20:13
  • You might want to ask if the stitches were done with absorbable sutures. These are very common, especially for smaller incisions. The sutures slowly dissolve due to enzymes in the body, and eventually they just fall out.
    – barbecue
    Dec 21, 2023 at 4:47
  • @barbecue, nothey are not dissolving, they have to be taken out, it's stated in the doctors report. The situation solved itself, we had to go to the hospital again because of a mistake in a prescription and they offered to take them out. If there is no other explanation I would accept Eikes answer Dec 21, 2023 at 9:24

1 Answer 1


After some more Googleing I would guess the doctor was not talking about medical qualifications.

Removing stitches is not financially attractive. What's worse, in the German system the doctor operates under a budget. There is a limited amount of money per person, and a limited amount of persons per quarter, that they will get reimbursed for. So at some point they will either work for free, or your mother's stitch removal will be some other patient's flu shot they are not getting (don't worry, there are very few poor doctors in Germany, but it is not the money printing machine it used to be).

What's more, they might not be entitled to a reimbursement at all, if your mother was admitted to the hospital for the procedure. Doctors cannot claim money from your public health for postoperative care after inpatient treatment.

Grundsätzlich nicht berechnungsfähig ist die postoperative Behandlung nach stationären Operationen. Hier ist die Klinik bis zu zwei Wochen verpflichtet, die Behandlung vorzunehmen. Ist diese Frist noch nicht abgelaufen, kann man den Patienten zur Behandlung an das Krankenhaus zurückschicken.


The doctor cannot refuse to treat you in case of medical emergency, but removing sutures is not an emergency. So while of course a doctor is allowed to remove stitches, they are probably right to refer you back to the hospital after a recent procedure for, basically, fiscal reasons.

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