What are the differences between monofilament and multifilament sutures?

Updated: Mar 05, 2020
  • Author: Desiree Ratner, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Monofilament suture material is made of a single strand; this structure is relatively more resistant to harboring microorganisms. It also exhibits less resistance to passage through tissue than multifilament suture does. However, great care must be taken in handling and tying a monofilament suture, because crushing or crimping of the suture can nick or weaken it and lead to undesirable and premature suture failure.

Multifilament suture material is composed of several filaments twisted or braided together. It generally has greater tensile strength and better pliability and flexibility than monofilament suture material, and it handles and ties well. However, because multifilament materials have increased capillarity, the increased absorption of fluid may facilitate the introduction of pathogens, which increases the risk for wound infection and dehiscence.

Multifilament suture material is less stiff than monofilament suture material, but because the individual filaments of a multifilament suture are braided together, an increased coefficient of friction is created when the suture is passed through tissue. Multifilament sutures are often treated with special coatings to facilitate tissue passage and reduce subsequent tissue damage.

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