Learning to suture is a rite of passage that occurs early in any surgeon’s training. I’ve spent the last 30 years as an orthopaedic surgeon and find traditional suture closure frustratingly time consuming.
I believe all surgeons, whether dental or otherwise, will welcome the significant advances in the adhesive market I cover here.
Suturing accounts for nearly all needle stick injuries in the operating environment. Suture closure causes localized ischemia, encourages wound infection and the granulomatous reaction to the suture material is particularly problematic when repairing delicate tissues.
Placing sutures accurately can be the difference between success and failure. Twenty years on, my vivid memory of suturing a torn femoral vein in an intimidatingly deep exposure is not so much the success I had, but how close the difference was between success and disaster.
Like dentists, we work extensively with bone and soft tissue. We both rely on long established metallic and suture fixation. Some devices are sophisticated but expensive. Meniscal repair sutures are $200 each, yet can still cause iatrogenic nerve injuries.
In short, suturing seems outdated and not without risk. Today, there is a significant unmet need for high performing biological adhesive to replace sutures. In spite of tissue adhesives being available for decades, the development of commercially viable products seems to have stalled decades ago. However, I believe we may be on the verge of significant progress that will benefit orthopaedic surgeons and dentists alike.