It has been customary, since the investigations of Lister, to treat catgut in such a fashion as to insure its persistence in the tissues for the time necessary for the thorough consolidation of the wound. This has been accomplished in great part by the chromicizing of the gut, and the intensity of the chemical reaction has been tested by the presence or absence of it as determined by histologic examination in the tissues of an experimental animal. It is customary to designate the product as ten day, twenty day or forty day catgut or otherwise to indicate the time that it may be expected to persist in the tissue.
Notwithstanding this, surgeons have observed under certain conditions that wounds supposedly well closed with such gut reopen, and that the gut has dissolved or has broken. It has been assumed that the reopening of the wound was the result of defective
EDWARD L. HOWES. FACTORS DETERMINING THE LOSS OF STRENGTH OF CATGUT WHEN EMBEDDED IN TISSUE. JAMA. 1928;90(7):530–532. doi:10.1001/jama.1928.02690340032013