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May 1990

Some Biomechanical Considerations of Polytetrafluoroethylene Sutures

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Virginia School of Medicine (Mss Dang and Melton, Mr Hwang, and Drs Rodeheaver and Edlich), and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (Dr Thacker), University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

Arch Surg. 1990;125(5):647-650. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1990.01410170095020

• The biomechanical performance of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) sutures has been compared with that of polypropylene sutures, the standard to which other sutures used in vascular and cardiac surgery are compared. The PTFE is supple and has no plastic memory, while the polypropylene suture is stiff and retains its plastic memory. In addition, the rate of creep encountered in the PTFE suture was significantly less than that of the polypropylene suture. The knotting profiles for knot security for either a square, granny, or surgeon's knot for polypropylene sutures were three throws each. In contrast, knot security with either a square or granny PTFE knot was accomplished with seven throws; six throws were needed for a secure surgeon's knot. The breaking strength of the unknotted and knotted PTFE sutures was approximately one half as great as that for the unknotted and knotted polypropylene sutures. Knot construction significantly reduced the breaking strength of polypropylene sutures but did not alter the breaking strength of PTFE sutures. The percent elongation experienced by both sutures before breakage did not differ significantly. The elasticity, as measured by work recovery, for the polypropylene suture was greater than that for the PTFE suture. On the basis of its unique biomechanical performance characteristics, the PTFE suture should have an important place in vascular and cardiac surgery.

(Arch Surg. 1990;125:647-650)