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What Is a Monocryl™ Suture?

By Misty Wiser
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A Monocryl™ suture is made of a synthetic monofilament. It may be transparent or colored purple for easy visibility against body tissue. The composition of the suture material ensures that the thread is very pliable for easy insertion into delicate tissue. It is most often used for soft tissue wound closures, and is not approved for use in cardiovascular procedures, neurosurgeries, or eye operations. These sutures are not used in wounds that may be subject to a lot of movement or tension on the tissue stitched together.

Monocryl™ sutures are made from a polymer material called poliglecaprone 25, a mixture of a glycolide and epilson-caprolactone. The synthetic material is designed to cause minimal damage to soft tissue when the suture is passed through it. This suture is also biodegradable. After the stitches are in place, it causes very little inflammatory reaction within the tissue, which may result in a faster healing period.

The absorbable suture begins to degrade within two weeks after being used to close a wound. It does not completely absorb until after two to three months have passed, providing the optimum healing time for the damaged tissue. An advantage of the absorbable suture for wound closure is that an additional appointment to remove the stitches can be avoided. Rarely, there may be small lumps at the edge of a healing wound, and if these are noticed a visit to the physician may be necessary to evaluate the stitches.

A Monocryl™ suture is also available in an antibacterial form. These destroy the bacteria that may come into contact with the stitches and inhibit the growth of colonies of naturally occurring bacterium within the wound. This may promote a faster healing time. The antibacterial used in the suture material is resistant to both forms of staphylococcus and klebsiella pneumonia. Escherichia coli, methicillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA), and methicillin-resistant S epidermidis (MRSE) are also inhibited by the antibacterial Monocryl™ suture.

These sutures may be used in a continuous suture pattern or locking-loop sutures, and the organ or soft tissue the stitching is being placed in determines the type of suture pattern used to close the wound. Visible facial wounds are often closed with a continuous suture pattern to disguise the stitching. A locking-loop suture pattern may be used for repairing intestinal perforations due to the peristaltic movement of the organ. Tendons may be repaired with a double-locking-loop Monocryl™ suture to prevent infection and add tensile strength to the stitches.

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Discussion Comments
By kentuckycat — On Dec 06, 2011

Does anyone have any idea why Monocryl sutures wouldn't be able to be used around the heart? At first when I was reading the article I thought that maybe they could only be used on the outside of the body, but then it mentions using the material on the intestines and tendons.

The thing I always think about in a lot of these medical things is that, at some point, someone had to be the first person to get these stitches. I'm sure in this case, there were a lot of different tests done on cadavers or animals or something to see how long it took for the string to break down, but the first person to actually have the stuff put in them had to wonder whether it would work like they said.

By jcraig — On Dec 05, 2011

@Izzy78 and @stl156 - I recently had a friend who got in a car accident and had to get some stitches in her face above her eye and cheek. Luckily, those were about the extent of her injuries, and there weren't any long term problems.

She was telling me about the stitches that they used for her face. I don't know the exact kind they were, but from reading the description here, it sounded like they could have been Monocryl.

As she relates it to me, the purpose of them using Monocryl stitches compared to normal nylon stitches is that the sutures will have to stay in for more than a couple weeks. About that time, the skin will start to heal around normal nylon stitches, and taking them out can be difficult. With the Monocryl, they just sort of dissolve into the blood stream or wherever.

I didn't know there were different patterns of stitches that could be used in different situations. I am kind of interested in those types of things, so maybe I'll read up on them and try to figure out what kind my friend has.

By stl156 — On Dec 05, 2011

@Izzy78 - Those are some good questions. I am not a doctor or even a nurse, so I am just taking a stab at it. My guess would be that the stitches sort of dissolve into the blood stream over time. I guess it would probably be caused just by water and/or different bodily fluids.

I know any time that I have had stitches, they have told me not to get the area wet until the stitches were removed. I don't know what the exact purpose of that is, but maybe the stitches start to dissolve after a little while. Inside your body, though, it would be very moist, so maybe they just break down really slowly.

As for the benefits to having Monocryl sutures outside of your body, I wouldn't know about that. Maybe someone else will.

By Izzy78 — On Dec 04, 2011

So, I get the sense that Monocryl is the name of a specific brand of suture material that is just used in special instances. Assuming that is the case, what is the normal suture material made of? Like the stuff they would use if you had a deep cut on your arm or something?

Also, what are all of the advantages to having stitches that degrade on their own compared to getting them taken out manually (besides one less doctor visit)? Obviously, if you have stitches inside of your body, you definitely aren't going to want to have to get them taken out manually, so that makes sense. I'm basically asking about stitches that are on the outside of the body.

Along the same lines, what happens to the stitches as they are "absorbed?" Do they somehow get pulled into the body and excreted somehow, or do they just sort of break down and get mixed in with everything else? What exactly causes them to break down?

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