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January 1963

The Promise of an Ideal Suture Material—Marlex (Blue Linear Polyethylene)

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Arch Surg. 1963;86(1):162-163. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1963.01310070164021

The need for better nonabsorbable nonmetallic suture material has long been felt. Either silk or cotton would be ideal except that in the presence of infection they frequently cause persistent sinus tracts which are very troublesome. Linen is more offensive in the presence of infection than silk or cotton. Nylon also causes trouble and the knots tend to slip. Tantalum and stainless steel wire do not cause trouble in the presence of infection, but they have the disadvantages that any wire suture has; patients frequently complain of sticking pain, especially if the sutures are placed close to the skin.

Over a period of years we have tested experimentally many types of nonmetallic sutures to determine their behavior in the presence of infection. Marlex, when placed in an infected wound, causes no more delay in healing than if it had not been there.1,2 Wounds healed perfectly with Marlex present, in