An absorptive suture relies on biological material to degrade over time and allow the body to absorb the materials. While not appropriate for all situations this type of suture has become increasingly common as it provides a simple way patients and doctors to close certain wounds and minimize healing times. There are several different options available in the marketplace which can make it difficult to know which type of suture material is best to use for specific situations.
Many of the absorptive suture products on the market rely on an absorbable synthetic fiber. The specific material plays a key role on a when the suture can be used. Strength retention is largely dependent upon the type of material and is a key factor in deciding when to use absorptive suture or traditional suture. Along with the initial strength of the material it is important to consider in vivo strength retention as well. Some absorptive material only offers 50% in vivo strength retention after one week while others offer 75% after one week and 60% after six weeks.
There are a variety of characteristics individual absorptive suture materials have. For example, monofilament sutures emphasize the advantages of a smooth surface which leads to less tissue trauma however these materials can be more difficult to handle and tie knots with. On the other hand, multi filament sutures offer excellent handling and strength but can lead to more significant tissue trauma. The biological suture provides numerous benefits but can lead to tissue reactions if there is an allergic reaction. Generally, an absorbable suture breaks down the body by hydrolysis which means there is no foreign body left. Unfortunately, if this happens too quickly the wound may not receive the support it needs and reopen.