Development of In Vitro Performance Tests and Evaluation of Nonabsorbable Monofilament Sutures for Cardiovascular Surgery

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There have been reports suggesting that polypropylene (PP) monofilament sutures are associated with mechanical failure. To overcome this problem, a new monofilament suture made from polyvinylidene fluoride, under the trade name of Teflene, has been developed. Few studies have measured the in vitro properties of Teflene sutures, and those that have, have been limited to a few tensile properties of the straight suture such as tensile strength, elongation, and creep behavior. The in vitro performance properties of Teflene sutures were evaluated and compared with those of commercial sutures made from PP such as Prolene and Surgilene in four sizes, 2-0, 3-0, 4-0, and 5-0. The performance properties of sutures included both the physical properties of straight sutures, such as suture diameter, tensile strength, elongation, surface roughness, coefficient of friction, bending stiffness, and tissue drag, and the knot characteristics, such as knot pull strength, knot rundown, and knot security. Existing standard test methods and testing instruments were used if available to measure certain suture properties such as diameter, tensile strength, knot pull strength, and some physical properties. The other novel test methods and unique accessory devices needed to perform the tests for measuring tissue drag, knot run-down, coefficient of friction, and knot security were developed in the authors' laboratories, and the comparative results are reported for the first time. From the test results, Teflene sutures were found in general to possess equivalent characteristics to those of existing PP commercial sutures, but some differences also were observed, such as greater elongation and less knot run-down. These differences may give them a unique feel and handling performance, especially in terms of making a knot, sliding it into position, and causing less damage to adjacent tissue.

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