Suture Materials

Author: Michelle Lin, MD
Updated: 1/7/2011

Suture Materials

Undesired tissue reactivity is greater with:

  • Multifilament (compared to monofilament)
  • Larger suture gauge
  • Natural material (compared to synthetic)

Absorbable Sutures

Surgical Gut

Effective Support: 8-9 days

Complete Absorption: 30 days

Rarely used. High tissue reactivity.

Chromic Gut

Effective Support: 10-21 days

Complete Absorption: >90 days

Gut treated with chromium to decrease tissue reactivity and slow absorption.

Fast Absorbing Gut

Effective Support: 5-7 days

Complete Absorption: 14-28 days

Gut treated with heat to speed absorption.

Polyglac (Vicryl)

Effective Support: 21 days

Complete Absorption: 90 days

Less reactive than gut. Synthetic.

Vicryl Rapide

Effective Support: 10 days

Complete Absorption: 42 days

Gamma-irradiated to speed absorption.

Non-Absorbable Sutures


Tensile Strength: Low

Tissue Reactivity: High

Multifilament, pliable.

Nylon (Ethilon)

Tensile Strength: High

Tissue Reactivity: Low

Monofilament, stiff.

Polypropylene (Prolene)

Tensile Strength: Moderate

Tissue Reactivity: Very low

Monofilament, less knot security because slippery (may need extra throw in knot).

Suture Removal Timeframes

Body Part # of Days After Suturing
Face 3-5
Scalp 7
Chest, extremities 7-10
High tension areas, back 10-14


  • Taylor B et al. Basic plastic surgery techniques and principles: Choosing the right suture material. Student BMJ, 11: 2003. [Source]
  • Tajirian AL, Goldberg DJ.A review of sutures and other skin closure materials. J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2010 Dec;12(6):296-302 [PubMed]