Sutures, also known as stitches, are sterile surgical threads used to repair cuts. They are also commonly used to close incisions from surgery. Some wounds may require an alternative method, like metal staples instead of sutures. It all depends on the injury.
The major classification of the sutures is based on the nature of the suture, that is, if they are - Dissolvable or Non-dissolvable sutures.
Dissolvable sutures: These sutures break down in the body naturally, without causing any harm to the body. Dissolvable or absorbable sutures are made up of materials that eventually dissolve in the body in a given time period. However, the process can take up to three weeks or more. These sutures are used for internal tissue surgery.
Earlier, the dissolvable sutures were made using sheep intestines. Hence, the name - Catgut. Gut sutures are made of specially prepared beef and sheep intestine and may be untreated (plain gut), tanned with chromium salts to increase their persistence in the body (chromic gut), or heat-treated to give more rapid absorption (fast gut). However, most absorbable sutures are now made of synthetic polymer fibres. They may be braided or monofilament; these offer numerous advantages over gut sutures, notably ease of handling, low cost, low tissue reaction, consistent performance and guaranteed non-toxicity. Dissolvable sutures are natural and synthetic.
Advantages of dissolvable sutures are:
The body breaks sutures down over time. This makes these sutures ideal for sealing up surgical sites, especially tissue inside the body that is hard to reach after the surgery.
Dissolvable sutures tend to be more flexible than non-absorbable stitches. Hence, doctors can suture the wound while matching its shape, which is good for helping to heal jagged wounds and spongy surgical sites.
Disadvantages of dissolvable sutures:
Absorbable sutures may not last as long as non-absorbable sutures because they dissolve over time. Your body may be extra-sensitive to absorbable sutures, as it recognises the material as a foreign substance. This can cause a reaction and delay the process of wound healing.
Using materials like beef or sheep intestine can significantly increase the risk of spreading zoonoses.
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