Recent Survey Reveals Majority of Surgeons Would Choose Antibacterial Suture Over Standard Suture


SOMERVILLE, N.J. -- A survey conducted at the American College of Surgeons 90th Annual Clinical Congress revealed that given the choice, 82 percent of surgeons would choose to use antibacterial sutures over standard sutures. The survey, sponsored by ETHICON Products, a division of ETHICON Inc., also revealed that 79 percent of surgeons agree that implantable antibacterial devices would be a valuable addition to their current surgical site infection (SSIs) control protocols.


Surgical infection-control procedures help reduce the possibility of infection from preoperative measures through wound closure, said Mark Jewell, MD, president-elect of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. In theory, using an antibacterial suture in this approach could potentially help to reduce the rate of SSIs and the accompanying morbidity and cost of this complication.


According to the survey, 74 percent of surgeons believe that implanted antibacterial devices may help reduce the number of SSIs. A 2003 nationwide survey of hospital infection control practitioners similarly found that 83 percent of those surveyed believed that active devices, such as VICRYL* Plus Antibacterial (polyglactin 910) sutures, should be used in surgical procedures.


The availability of new innovative technologies or procedures that can potentially reduce the risk of infection would fall in line with our overall efforts to decrease the rate of surgical site infections, especially in high-risk populations, stated Charles E. Edmiston, PhD, CIC, associate professor of surgery and hospital epidemiologist at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.


Surgical site infections are the second most common hospital-associated infection and cause approximately 17 percent of all hospital-acquired infections.(1) Minimizing the risk of healthcare-associated infections is a top priority for surgeons and hospitals and represents one of the major safety initiatives an organization can undertake as part of an effective infection prevention and control program.(2)


The survey was conducted by ETHICON Products, a division of ETHICON INC., during the 2004 American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress held in New Orleans Oct. 11-14, 2004.  Ninety-nine surgeons who attended this congress were asked to participate.


 Coated VICRYL* Plus suture is the first and only antibacterial suture cleared by the FDA for inhibiting the colonization of bacteria that cause the majority of surgical site infections.(1,3) It creates an active zone around the suture, inhibiting staphylococcus aureus, staphylococcus epidermidis and methicillin resistant strains of staphylococcus (MRSA and MRSE),(1,3) the leading surgical site bacteria, from colonizing on the suture for a minimum of 48 hours.1  VICRYL Plus sutures contains IRGACARE MP*, the purest form of triclosan, a proven, broad-spectrum antibacterial used effectively in consumer products for more than 30 years. VICRYL Plus suture is indicated for use in general soft tissue approximation and/or ligation, except for ophthalmic, cardiovascular and neurological tissues.


Coated VICRYL Plus is an absorbable suture that should not be used where extended approximation of tissue under stress is required and in patients with known allergic reactions to triclosan.  Side effects of absorbable sutures can include wound dehiscence, insufficient wound support when wound healing is delayed, infection, minimal tissue reaction, suture extrusion, delayed absorption and calculi formation.


ETHICON Products, a division of ETHICON, INC., a Johnson & Johnson company, continues Johnson & Johnson's 100-year commitment to wound care today with inventive products for wound closure. ETHICON Products is the worldwide leader in suture products and suture technology, and is one of the most recognizable and well-respected brand names in the hospital environment. The division has a long history of innovation in providing products including sutures, topical adhesives, surgical meshes and wound drains that enhance patient care.






1. Mangram A. et al. CDC guideline for prevention of surgical site infection. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, 1999; 20(4):247-280.    


2. Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Surveillance, Prevention, and Control of Infection [Hospital Infection Control Standards, 2005]. Joint Commission Perspectives. 2004;24(7).


3. Rothenburger S, Spangler D, Bhende S, Burkley D. In vitro Antimicrobial Evaluation of Coated VICRYL* Plus Antimicrobial Suture Using Zone of Inhibition Assays; Surgical Infection Society (SIS) journal(suppl) Dec 2002.


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