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June 1962

Experimental Study of Silk Suture

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, the Veterans Administration Hospital, and the Duke University Medical Center.

Arch Surg. 1962;84(6):698-702. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1962.01300240102017

The characteristics of silk as a surgical suture have been known for many years and need not be reviewed extensively, as excellent summaries are available.1-4 Silk granuloma and extrusion have been attributed to simple foreign-body reaction, excessively large sutures, infection, allergy, or the dye or coating on the suture.5 Recently Bahnson, Spencer and Bennett6 described persistent staphylococcal infection about silk sutures used in 5 operations on the heart and great vessels. A second major procedure was necessary to remove the infected silk, after which the patients promptly recovered. Disturbing reports such as this stimulate the continued search for a better surgical suture.

Several of the new synthetic suture materials have been found to incite less tissue reaction than silk, and Teflon has been noted to be especially innocuous.7-9 Although the degree of tissue reaction is certainly not the underlying cause of all suture complications, these would