Advances, challenges, and prospects for surgical suture materials

Yiran Li, Qi Meng, Shaojuan Chen, Peixue Ling, Mitchell A. Kuss, Bin Duan, Shaohua Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


As one of the long-established and necessary medical devices, surgical sutures play an essentially important role in the closing and healing of damaged tissues and organs postoperatively. The recent advances in multiple disciplines, like materials science, engineering technology, and biomedicine, have facilitated the generation of various innovative surgical sutures with humanization and multi-functionalization. For instance, the application of numerous absorbable materials is assuredly a marvelous progression in terms of surgical sutures. Moreover, some fantastic results from recent laboratory research cannot be ignored either, ranging from the fiber generation to the suture structure, as well as the suture modification, functionalization, and even intellectualization. In this review, the suture materials, including natural or synthetic polymers, absorbable or non-absorbable polymers, and metal materials, were first introduced, and then their advantages and disadvantages were summarized. Then we introduced and discussed various fiber fabrication strategies for the production of surgical sutures. Noticeably, advanced nanofiber generation strategies were highlighted. This review further summarized a wide and diverse variety of suture structures and further discussed their different features. After that, we covered the advanced design and development of surgical sutures with multiple functionalizations, which mainly included surface coating technologies and direct drug-loading technologies. Meanwhile, the review highlighted some smart and intelligent sutures that can monitor the wound status in a real-time manner and provide on-demand therapies accordingly. Furthermore, some representative commercial sutures were also introduced and summarized. At the end of this review, we discussed the challenges and future prospects in the field of surgical sutures in depth. This review aims to provide a meaningful reference and guidance for the future design and fabrication of innovative surgical sutures. Statement of significance: This review article introduces the recent advances of surgical sutures, including material selection, fiber morphology, suture structure and construction, as well as suture modification, functionalization, and even intellectualization. Importantly, some innovative strategies for the construction of multifunctional sutures with predetermined biological properties are highlighted. Moreover, some important commercial suture products are systematically summarized and compared. This review also discusses the challenges and future prospects of advanced sutures in a deep manner. In all, this review is expected to arouse great interest from a broad group of readers in the fields of multifunctional biomaterials and regenerative medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-112
Number of pages35
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - Sep 15 2023


  • Absorbable materials
  • Smart materials
  • Surgical sutures
  • Suture functionalization
  • Suture modification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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