Hydrogen peroxide can weaken absorbable sutures, study shows

Sep 04, 2007, 4:00am

Dallas - A study conducted at UT Southwestern Medical Center here suggests that cleaning absorbable sutures with hydrogen peroxide dramatically decreases their tensile strength, news source ScienceDaily.com reports.

Dallas - A study conducted at UT Southwestern Medical Center here suggests that cleaning absorbable sutures with hydrogen peroxide dramatically decreases their tensile strength, news source ScienceDaily.com reports.

The study’s results, which appeared in the July/August issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, also showed that cleaning absorbable, or gut, sutures with distilled water does not decrease their strength.

In the study, 15 samples of absorbable and non-absorbable sutures were examined. The five-sample control groups were not manipulated in any way, while the other two groups underwent a twice-a-day regimen of either being dipped in hydrogen peroxide or distilled water for five minutes each over five days.

At the end of the five days, all samples were subjected to strength testing using a machine that pulled the samples until they broke.

Non-absorbable sutures were unaffected by either the water or the hydrogen peroxide. The absorbable sutures treated with water retained their strength when compared to the control group.

However, the absorbable sutures treated with hydrogen peroxide disintegrated on handling prior to testing. In one sample, the suture had completely degraded.

The researchers concluded that for superficial incisions and wounds with absorbable sutures, cleansing with hydrogen peroxide could quickly negate the sutures’ closure value and might lead to hypertrophic scars.

The researchers say they plan to analyze and compare scar results of similar procedures in patients who used hydrogen peroxide to cleanse the area and those who did not.