ECRI Institute Releases Groundbreaking Evaluation of Surgical Sutures

Extensive study revealed many unexpected findings in assessment of more than 30 types of sutures

August 17, 2017

PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA—ECRI Institute, the independent leader in medical device safety and evaluation, announces the completion of an extensive laboratory-based evaluation of surgical sutures. This is the first time the respected nonprofit research organization has performed side-by-side testing of sutures.

“Two thirds of healthcare spend every year goes to consumable supplies and physician preference items," says David T. Jamison, executive director, Health Devices Group, ECRI Institute. “With this in mind, we decided to start reviewing commonly used, regularly replaced healthcare supplies. Surgical sutures were the logical place to start given the many options on the market."

ECRI Institute studied most of the available suture product lines from two leading manufacturers in the suture market. Within each manufacturer, product lines vary greatly in construction, material, size, absorbability, and needle shape and tip geometry. There is also a variety of barbed sutures for knotless wound closure. Performance and safety-related characteristics, such as strength, knot retention, and needle sharpness, were key in the evaluation.

“Sutures are widely considered a physician preference item, so clinicians may be surprised to see those categories where our findings do or do not reinforce their beliefs. For instance, some sutures were found to have significant knot slippage, which could result in harm, such as patient bleeding," says Julie Miller, project officer, Health Devices Group, ECRI Institute.

ECRI Institute estimates that the annual acquisition cost a facility might incur for the wide variety of sutures that they stock is $51,000 for a small hospital, $320,000 for a medium-sized hospital, and $1,300,000 for a large hospital.

“This evaluation gave us an opportunity to dig deep into the different types of sutures and offer healthcare systems significant data that can help inform purchases," adds Miller.

ECRI Institute's Health Devices Group offers unbiased medical product test results and ratings, an early warning system of device safety alerts, expert technology guidance, consultations and webinars, and other tools and resources. Product evaluations are included in ECRI Institute Health Devices™ and SELECTplus® membership programs.

For more information about this surgical suture evaluation or about ECRI Institute's medical technology procurement and management programs, call (610) 825-6000, ext. 5891; e-mail; or mail to ECRI Institute, 5200 Butler Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462.

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About ECRI Institute
ECRI Institute (, a nonprofit organization, dedicates itself to bringing the discipline of applied scientific research to healthcare to discover which medical procedures, devices, drugs, and processes enable improved patient care. As pioneers in this science for 50 years, ECRI Institute marries experience and independence with the objectivity of evidence-based research. Strict conflict-of-interest guidelines ensure objectivity. ECRI Institute is designated an Evidence-based Practice Center by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. ECRI Institute PSO is listed as a federally certified Patient Safety Organization by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ECRI Institute convened and operates the Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety, a multi-stakeholder collaborative.

For more information, contact:
Laurie Menyo, Director of Public Relations and Marketing Communications
(610) 825-6000, ext. 5310