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Sutures: Types of Sutures and How they are Used

Sutures: Types of Sutures and How they are Used

What is a suture?

A suture is a surgical device used to bind together the edges of a surgical incision or wound. Sutures are widely used by medical professionals on patients’ post-surgery or after sustaining an injury.

Sutures are used by a range of medical professionals including General Practitioners, Plastic Surgeons, Dermatologists, Orthopaedic Surgeons, Oral Surgeons, Dentists, Veterinarians (Vets) and many more.

 

How a Suture is Structured

A suture is made from 2 main components. The needle and the thread. Needles come in many different configurations with the most popular needle used being a reverse cutting needle. This is where the needle has a cutting edge on the under/back side of the needle. Threads also vary depending on the application. These can typically be categorised into absorbable or non-absorbable.

 

Suture Needle Types

Reverse Cutting – Reverse cutting needles are where the needle has a cutting edge on the under/back side of the needle. Reverse cutting suture needles are very sharp and ideal for skin. They cut rather than dilating.
Taper-Point – Taper-point needles are suited to soft tissue. They dilate rather than cutting.
Conventional Cutting – Conventional cutting suture needles are very sharp. They cut on the top edge of the needle. This actually creates a weakness and can allow the suture to tear through. Conventional cutting suture needles cut rather than dilate.
Taper-Cutting – Taper-Cutting suture needles are ideal in tough or calcified tissues. They are mainly used in Cardiac and Vascular procedures.

Suture Thread Types

Non-Absorbable Suture Threads
There are many different non-absorbable suture threads that have been produced. Here are the most widely used threads available.

    • Polyamide 6 – Polyamide 6 is a synthetic monofilament thread. Polyamide 6 sutures are developed to have great handling characteristics and excellent knot security.
    • Nylon – Nylon is a natural monofilament thread.
    • Silk – A braided natural suture thread.
    • Polyester – Polyester suture threads are a synthetic thread that is braided.

 

Absorbable Suture Threads
Like non-absorbable threads, absorbable threads are diverse. Here are the most widely used absorbable threads available.
    • Poly (Glycolide-co-Caprolactone) (PGCL) – High tensile strength, smooth monofilament and good handling and knotting characteristics. Is available in dyed (violet) or undyed thread colour.
    • Poly(Glycolide-co-lactide) - Excellent biocompatibility, great knot security and predictable absorption make Poly(Glycolide-co-lactide) very popular for closure of internal tissue
    • Poliglecaprone – Poliglecaprone is a synthetic monofilament made of glycolide and epsilon-capralactone.
    • Polyglactin – Coated, braided absorbable monofilament suture.
    • Gut suture – Rapid and variable absorption rate. It has good handling characteristics but poor knot security.

 

Suture Brands

Sutures are manufactured all over the world by leading brands such as Vigilenz, B.Braun, Ethicon, Johnson & Johnson, Covidien, Medtronic, Look and Surgical Specialties to name a few. A few of the most common suture names are Brilon, Brilon Biopsy, Brilon Primecut, Ecosyn, Ecosyn Primecut, Ecosorb, Biosyn, Caprosyn, Chromic Gut, Dafilon, Dermalon, Ethison Silk, Ethilon, Look Nylon, Look Polysyn, Look Silk, Maxon, Mersilk, Monocryl, Monosyn, Monosyn Quick, Novafil, Novosyn Quick, Optilene, PDS II, Plain Gut, Polysorb, Prolene, Sharpoint, Silkam, Sofsilk, Surgicryl, Vicryl, Vicryl Rapide and Vigilenz Silk. All these names are distributed by Medilogic.


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