Sutures and Drains
Surgical suture materials and surgical drains are part of routine surgical work. Only the most important aspects are listed here.
The history of surgical sutures goes back a long way, with varying degrees of success. In the middle of the 19th century, organic suture materials (“catgut,” actually made from sheep intestine or silk thread) were introduced together with the principles of asepsis, though some of these materials were already familiar in antiquity. These suture materials, particularly catgut, are no longer used today in European gynecology. The synthetic suture materials in common use today are classified as absorbable or nonabsorbable, and monofilament or polyfilament.
Modern surgical sutures are usually firmly swaged to atraumatic needles. In gynecology, atraumatic needles are used in over 95% of all operations. “Traumatic” needles, where the suture material has to be threaded, are now reserved for exceptional situations.
Although there are standards in most hospitals, though often not set down in writing, the surgeon can always decide which type and strength of suture he or she will use, and when, within certain guidelines.