Sutures are devices used by surgeons to hold together body tissues following operations. Surgical sutures are typically carried out with the use of a needle and very fine thread. They are used to close incisions made during a wide range of surgical procedures.

Sutures have been in use for thousands of years, with a history dating back to ancient Egypt around 3,000 BC. Sutures still play an essential role in a many surgical procedures, however advances in medicine have seen the sizes, materials and placement of sutures come a long way, particularly in recent decades with the invention of synthetic fibres.

Sutures can be either absorbable or non-absorbable, depending on whether they will naturally degrade over time once incisions have healed. Depending on the procedure, sutures can also be either temporary, which may require removal weeks or months later, or permanent to play a long-lasting role.

Effective use of sutures in cosmetic surgery

Cosmetic surgery treatments using sutures can be carefully planned to make the best use of natural body contours and the best available materials to hide the appearance of sutures and incisions following treatments.

Procedures such as eye bag removal and ear reshaping can use buried sutures within the natural folds of facial features. While treatments such as tummy tucks will usually require permanent sutures to tighten the abdominal wall and reduce the size of the stomach, some treatments such as liposuction can also make use of dissolvable sutures that will naturally dissolve over time once the incision had healed.

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