OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that the mechanical strength of wounds closed with a combination of buried dermal absorbable sutures and superficial nonabsorbable nylon sutures will be higher than wounds closed with only superficial nonabsorbable nylon sutures.
METHODS: Four Yucatan pigs were anesthetized and each received four 4.5cm full thickness incisions on their dorsal surfaces, placed 8cm apart. Half of all incisions were randomly allocated and repaired with 3-0 polyglactin 910 (Vicryl(™)) buried dermal absorbable sutures and superficial 3-0 nylon sutures, using a simple interrupted pattern. The other half received only 3-0 nylon sutures. Two pigs were humanely euthanized at day 10, with specimen harvest for mechanical testing; the other two pigs had superficial nylon sutures removed at day 10, as per current clinical practice, and were humanely euthanized at day 42, with specimen harvest for mechanical testing. Tensile loads were applied perpendicularly to the wounds with a displacement rate of 40mm per minute.
RESULTS: Wounds at day 42 were >9 times stronger than wounds at day 10 (p<0.0001). There was no difference in average wound strength at either day 10 or day 42 between wounds with and without buried dermal absorbable sutures.
SIGNIFICANCE: Buried dermal absorbable sutures failed to provide additional wound support at either 10 or 42 days. This result may have immediate implications for clinicians who perform cutaneous surgery and keep superficial sutures in for at least 10 days. Future research will be directed to shorter time studies, other buried dermal absorbable suture materials, and alternatives to buried dermal absorbable sutures.