Of the many suture materials available to the surgeon, catgut occupies a unique position in that it alone is absorbed during the course of wound healing. The absorption time can be controlled grossly by the size of the suture used and by the type of chemical tanning employed in its manufacture. Chrome-tanned catgut thus has a delayed absorption time as compared to plain catgut. With the advent of modern purification and sterilization procedures, the use of catgut sutures has presented surgeons with minimal difficulties. Nevertheless, catgut, being a natural product, has inherent a degree of variability in strength characteristics and in in vivo performance which cannot be avoided.
Chemically, catgut consists essentially of the protein, collagen, and it is obtained from the submucosal layer of the small intestines of sheep or the serosal layer of the small intestines of cattle. It has long been recognized that it should be possible
MILLER JM, ZOLL DR, BROWN EO. Clinical ObservationsOn Use of an Extruded Collagen Suture. Arch Surg. 1964;88(2):167-174. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1964.01310200005002