The term fast sutures is used to designate a suture material that is very rapidly absorbed by the body. Most natural materials in absorbable sutures, including gut and polyglycolic acid synthetic will rapidly dissolve in the body within one to three weeks, or at least have a dramatic decrease in tensile strength by the end of one or two weeks. This is very desirable for many types of surgeries including plastic surgery and many different types of soft tissues approximation and ligation. Due to their relatively rapid absorption they are not indicated for use in cardiovascular, neurological, microsurgeries or for some suture options, in ophthalmic surgery.
On the other hand there is also a type of suture that is designed to be very rapidly absorbed by the body. Fast sutures are as rapidly absorbed as plain or natural gut sutures, with some types actually being slightly faster to absorb than others. The most common use for these sutures is in plastic surgery where there is minimal deep tissue healing and superficial soft tissue approximation is all that the surgeon is concerned with. It is ideal for use on the skin as well as the mucosa and, because of the rapid absorption , there is no risk of scarring around the incision site. These sutures are not used in any type of ligation or where there will be stress put on the wound during the healing process.
One of major features of these sutures is that the suture itself elicits the minimal acute inflammatory reaction in the skin or mucosa. This eliminates swelling or additional irritation to the patient at the incision site. In fact in most tests designed to measure the absorption rate the tensile strength has decreased by approximately half just six to nine days after the procedure. This very rapid absorption rate continues with full tensile strength lost within approximately fourteen days after implantation. Full absorption of many types of fast sutures is complete in approximately 42 days, which is considerably less than seen in chromic cut or other absorbable sutures. Various companies and brands of sutures offer different approximations of timelines for tensile strength and absorption and careful review of product information is essential in changing suppliers or types of fast sutures.
Different factors can influence the specific absorption rate of these sutures, just as they can impact other types of absorbable sutures. There are several health conditions that may be counterindicated for the use of fast sutures. Patients with any conditions that delay or slow down wound healing, such as diabetes, autoimmune conditions or other infections within the body may not be appropriate candidates of fast sutures as a soft tissue ligation option. In addition very large areas that require extended or extensive approximation are not considered appropriate for the use of fast sutures.
Like most suture options, fast sutures come in a variety of dyed or natural options and can be needled, pre cut and packaged for easy use. It is also available on a reel, ideal for busy hospitals and emergency room settings where frequent suturing is required.