Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Surgery: suture materials and needles - overview

Synonym(s): cat gut, nylon, polyproylene, staples, steel, polyglactin, polydioxanone, PDS

Contributor(s): Vetstream Ltd , Paul Wood

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Introduction

  • Sutures and ligatures are a fundamental part of surgical technique, helping to maintain tissue approximation as tissue heals and ligating important structures such as blood vessels.
  • The ideal suture material does not exist, but selection of an appropriate material should have the following goals:
    • Easy to handle and knot.
    • Hold knots securely without damaging the material.
    • Elicit minimal tissue reaction.
    • Maximize its range of use.
    • Should not create an environment favorable to bacterial growth.
    • High tensile strength and small diameter.
    • Non-electrolytic/non-capillary/non-allergenic/non-carcinogenic.
    • Economical.
    • Easily sterilized.
  • The surgeon needs to be aware of the advantages/disadvantages of each type of suture material and should make a selection based on scientific principles.
  • Other factors to consider in making a choice:
    • Type of tissue involved and tissue response to the suture: the suture selected should be as strong as the normal tissue through which it is placed.
    • Reason for sutures.
    • Type of patient.
    • Location and condition of wound to be sutured, especially contaminated or infected wounds: most sutures potentiate wound infection development although monofilament sutures are preferred because of limited capillarity; minimizing suture material in contaminated wounds is also helpful.
    • Surgical technique.
    • Known biologic and physical properties of the suture.

Characteristics

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Physical properties

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Selection

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Size

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Needles

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Further Reading

Publications

Other sources of information

  • Blackford L W & Blackford J T (1999) Suture materials and patterns. In: Equine surgery. 2nd edn. Eds: Auer J A & Stick J A. W B Saunders, Philadelphia. pp 91-103.


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