The Two Main Types of Sutures - Learn How They Are Different

While sutures are classified in numerous ways, they can be divided into two groups. They include absorbable and non-absorbable. Your doctor does not remove the absorbable sutures because the enzymes digest them in your body. On the other hand, non-absorbable must be removed at a later date.

The nature of the material used in making the suture is divided into two. First, it may be monofilament sutures, which consist of a single thread. Thus, it is easier to move it through tissues. Second, the other suture material is braided sutures with some small threads, which are braided together. This suture material provides increased security but increases the risk of infection.

The good thing about all suture materials is that they are sterilized. So whether they are made of natural or synthetic material, all sutures are safe to use.

Absorbable Sutures 

Gut- This is one of the natural materials used in sutures. It is used to repair internal soft tissue lacerations and wounds. However, it cannot be used for neurological and cardiovascular procedures. When used on the external parts of the body, it reacts strongly and is likely to scar over time. Therefore, it is hardly used beyond gynaecological surgery.

Polydioxanone- Also known as PDS, polydioxanone is a synthetic monofilament suture. It is ideal for different types of wound repairs, including abdominal closures and pediatric cardiac procedures.

Poliglecaprone- This is a synthetic suture that is used for soft tissue repairs. This monofilament suture cannot be used for neurological and cardiovascular procedures. It is mostly used to close the skin invisibly.  

Polyglactin- It is a braided suture and ideal for facial or hand lacerations. This synthetic suture is also not usable in neurological and cardiovascular procedures.

Non-Absorbable Sutures 

Non-absorbable sutures are available in different types. They are for soft tissue repairs, which include sensitive neurological and cardiovascular procedures. they include the following: 

  • Nylon
  • Polypropylene
  • Silk
  • Polyester

Why sutures and not stitches?

While stitches and sutures are sometimes used interchangeably, they are two different things. Suture refers to the medical device used to repair wounds, and stitching refers to the technique used by doctors to close wounds.  

When are sutures removed? 

How long it takes before the sutures are removed depends on where the sutures are in your body. Here are some general guidelines as to when sutures may be removed:

  • The scalp takes between 7 and 10 days
  • Face takes between 3 and 5 days
  • Trunk or chest takes between 10 and 14 days
  • On the arms, it will take 7 and 10 days
  • Legs will take between 10 and 14 days
  • Feet or hands will take up to 14 days
  • Feet soles and palms up to 21 days

A doctor who has completed medical education will start by sterilizing the area. They then pick the end of the suture and cut before pulling the suture strand gently. It is the doctor who decides the best suture technique and material, depending on your condition. You can always talk to the medic attending to you if you have any questions regarding the sutures.