A suture is one of the most commonly used devices by doctors during surgery. Also referred to as stitches, sutures are sterile surgical threads used to repair cuts or wounds to your skin and other tissues. They can be used to close incisions from surgery or wounds from trauma. However, it’s important to note that not all wounds are closed with sutures; metal staples are also used in some cases.
There are several types of sutures that doctors can use. The material depends on whether the doctor plan to leave the sutures in the skin after the wound is healed or if the patient needs to return for removal. The two types of sutures are absorbable or non-absorbable sutures.
With absorbable sutures, the patient doesn’t have to return to the doctor for removal because the enzymes in your tissues can easily digest them naturally. However, the rate at which the suture will dissolve is dependent on the size, type, and location of the suture in the body. Additionally, this can also be affected by some characteristics in the patient, such as if they have:
- Protein deficiency
- An infection
- And if the suture experience too much tension
Types Of Absorbable Sutures
These sutures are generally used for a buried type of suturing and often lose tensile strength in about 2 months. They include:
Polydioxanone (PDS): It’s a synthetic monofilament suture used for soft tissue repair (including abdominal closures) and pediatric cardiac procedures.
Gut: It’s a natural monofilament suture used to close up lacerations and internal soft tissue wounds. They aren’t for neurological or cardiovascular procedures because our bodies strongly react to this suture, leading to a scar. It’s also not used outside gynecological surgery.
Polyglactin (Vicryl): It’s a synthetic braided suture used for repairing facial and hand lacerations. This material shouldn’t be used for neurological or cardiovascular procedures.
Poliglecaprone (MONOCRYL): It’s a synthetic monofilament suture for general use in repairing soft tissue. This material should not be used for neurological or cardiovascular procedures.
On the other hand, non-absorbable needs to be removed after the wound has healed but can be left in permanently in some cases.
Typically, the period it will take to remove the suture depends on the intensity and location of the wound in the body. But if everything goes well, the suture can be removed in the following timeframe according to American Family Physician:
- 3 to 5 days for face wounds
- 7 to 10 days for scalp wounds
- 7 to 10 days for arms wounds
- 10 to 14 days for chest or trunk wounds
- 10 to 14 days for hands or feet wounds
- 10 to 14 days for legs wounds
- 14 to 21 days for palms of hands or soles of feet
Types of non-absorbable sutures
These are commonly used for skin surface sutures and had a tensile strength that can last for more than 2 months. They include:
Polypropylene/ Prolene: it’s a synthetic monofilament suture.
Nylon: it’s a natural monofilament suture.
Polyester/ Ethibond: It’s a braided synthetic suture.
Silk: it’s a natural braided suture.