Suture Types in Plastic Surgery

Suture Types in Plastic Surgery

09th Jun 2017

Surgical suturing can be traced back to thousands of years ago. Archeologists unearthed evidence that suturing was an indelible component of Egyptian culture as it was widely used for burial preparation of mummies. While the materials, types, aspects, and quality of sutures have evolved and dramatically improved with the development and advances in science and technology, the core function of sutures remain the same. Sutures are used to close cuts, incisions, wounds, dead spaces, skin edges, and to considerably reduce risks of excessive bleeding and infections.

Today, sutures are available in different types and are often categorized by type of materials used, sizes, and strengths. The common types of sutures used in plastic surgery are the absorbable suture and non-absorbable suture. The non-absorbable sutures are also called permanent sutures. Other types of sutures include the braided and non-braided, but they are rarely used in plastic surgery.

The type of suture the surgeon will choose to close your plastic surgery wounds will depend on a number of factors such as type of plastic surgery, location, thickness and quality of your skin, the unit of tension, your aesthetic goals, and personal preferences of your surgeon.

Absorbable sutures are liquefied and absorbed by your body and varies in strength and length of absorption time. Some of the sutures can dissolve quickly while others would gradually dissolve over a period of time. The absorbable sutures are made of organic substances, which the body can consume.

These are typically stitched under the skin, which makes their dissolution easy. Your doctor will make sure that they are placed in areas that don’t require permanent strength. The human body uses inflammatory responses to dissolve and include the absorbable sutures.

On the other hand, the non-absorbable or permanent sutures are basically stitches that cannot be destroyed or absorbed by the body. These sutures will either remain in your body permanently, or they will be taken out by your plastic surgeon during a follow-up visit.

The permanent sutures are used in plastic surgery procedures that are more invasive, because they are relatively stronger. Non-absorbable sutures are also less reactive, less inflammatory, and cause less discomfort. Also, they are easy to remove because they do not meld with your body tissues. Different materials are used to manufacture non-absorbable sutures, including nylon, prolene, metal wire, and nurolon.

In some cases, braided or non-braided sutures may be used to close your plastic surgery wounds. Braided sutures come with different threads entwined together in the form of a cord. Different materials are used to manufacture these sutures, such as silk, vicryl and ethibond. On the other hand, non-braided sutures come with a single constituent, made of monocryl, PDS, or ethilon nylon.

For the most part, your surgeon’s preference will determine what suture will be used to close your plastic surgery incisions. As stated earlier, the absorbable and non-absorbable sutures are the popular options in plastic surgery. The braided and non-braided sutures are also absorbable, which is why some surgeons prefer to use them. Ask your doctor during the initial consultation if you want to know which suture will be used to close your plastic surgery incisions.

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