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Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

ISSN Print: 1050-6934
ISSN Online: 1940-4379

Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

DOI: 10.1615/JLongTermEffMedImplants.v14.i3.90
10 pages

Experimental Studies in Swine for Measurement of Suture Extrusion

David B. Drake
Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery & Orthopedic Surgery. University of Virginia Health System PO Box 800376 Charlottesville VA 22908-0376, USA
Pamela E. Rodeheaver
Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
Richard Edlich
Legacy Verified Level I Shock Trauma Center Pediatrics and Adults, Legacy Emanual Hospital; and Plastic Surgery, Biomedical Engineering and Emergency Medicine, University of Virginia Health System, USA
George T. Rodeheaver
Plastic Surgery Research Program, Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA, USA

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this scientific investigation was to identify the determinants of suture extrusion following subcuticular skin closure of dermal skin wounds. Miniature swine were used to develop a model for studying suture extrusion. Standard, full-thickness skin incisions were made on each leg and the abdomen. The wounds were closed with size 4/0 POLYSORB* or COATED VICRYL* sutures. Each incision was closed with five interrupted, subcuticular, vertical loops secured with a surgeon's knot. The loops were secured with 3-throw knots in one pig, 4-throw knots in the second pig, and 5-throw knots in the third pig. The swine model reproduced the human clinical experience and suture extrusion, wound dehiscence, stitch abscess, and granuloma formation were all observed. The cumulative incidence of suture extrusion over 5 weeks ranged from 10 to 33%. COATED VICRYL* sutures had a higher mean cumulative incidence of suture extrusion than that of POLYSORB* sutures (31% vs. 19%).With POLYSORB* sutures, the 5-throw surgeon's knots had a higher cumulative incidence of suture extrusion than the 3-throw or 4-throw surgeon's knot square, 30% vs. 17% and 10%, respectively. This swine model offers an opportunity to study the parameters that influence suture extrusion. Because the volume of suture material in the wound is obviously a critical determinant of suture extrusion, it is imperative that the surgeon construct a knot that fails by breakage, rather than by slippage with the least number of throws. Because both braided absorbable suture materials are constructed with a secure surgical knot that fails only by breakage rather than slippage with a 3-throw surgeon's knot square (2 = 1 = 1), the construction of additional throws with these sutures does not enhance the suture holding capacity but plays a key factor in precipitating suture extrusion. Finally, it is important to emphasize that the surgeon must always construct symmetrical surgical knots for dermal subcuticular skin closure in which the constructed knot is always positioned perpendicular to the linear wound incision. Asymmetrical knot construction for dermal wound closure becomes an obvious invitation for suture extrusion.