Bioactive Sutures: A Review of Advances in Surgical Suture Functionalisation
Sutures have been at the forefront of surgical medicine throughout time. With recent
advances in suture technology, it is possible to incorporate biologically active substances to
enhance suture function and capability. Bioactive sutures represent a modality interest in controlled
drug and cell delivery to traumatic sites. In this article, a comprehensive literature
search of key bibliographic databases focusing on suture material fabrication and advanced
modification was performed. The history, manufacturing process and cost-effectiveness of
bioactive sutures are presented. Several novel modifications to enhance function in drug and
growth factor delivery and cell therapy are also reviewed. Different antimicrobial drugs and
anaesthetics have been shown to be effective in reducing inflammation and bacterial infection.
Cellular therapy represents a unique modality augmenting the surgical repair of various soft
tissue injuries. We propose a definition of bio-active sutures as biomaterials that are engineered
to have controlled tissue interaction to optimise wound/defect healing, in addition to
their essential function in tissue approximation.
Keywords: Surgery, sutures, wounds, biomaterial, bio-functionalization, activation.
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