Experimental studies in swine for measurement of suture extrusion

David B. Drake, Pamela F. Rodeheaver, Richard F. Edlich, George T. Rodeheaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


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 dosed 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-259
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2004


  • Braided suture
  • Narrow diameter sutures
  • Square knot
  • Surgeon's knot
  • Surgical suture
  • Symmetric knot construction
  • Synthetic absorbable braided suture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Dentistry


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