Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Engineering (ME)

Legacy Department


Committee Chair/Advisor

Burg, Karen

Committee Member

Taylor , Michael S


The suture is one of the most commonly used medical devices, consisting of a fiber, a surgical needle and the packaging in which it is stored. The fiber itself remains after implantation for a defined time and is responsible for the approximation of the wound during the healing process. The needle merely serves to aid in insertion, and preferably has a diameter larger than the diameter of the fiber .
The 1970's marked the birth of a new family of fibrous materials for the approximation of wounds: synthetic absorbable sutures. This family has the ability to provide wound support during the early stages of wound healing, but also possesses the ability to fully absorb over time. This reduces the incidence of complications that can be caused by the permanent presence of a foreign body.
Currently, there are issues regarding the ability of the wound site to achieve hemostasis, due to holes created by the needle that are not completely filled by the suture. This blood leakage can lead to significant hemorrhaging and, in the case of gastrointestinal surgeries, can lead to contamination and bacterial growth. The aim of this research is to create a suture that is inserted with a diameter smaller than that of the needle, but that increases in diameter after implantation to partially or fully fill this hole. To achieve this end, a new amphiphilic suture line comprising polyethylene glycol and a lactone monomer base (L-lactide, 1,4-dioxan-2-one) was investigated. This work concluded with the selection of a quickly absorbing polymer composition that has strength and long lasting strength retention comparable to commercially available absorbable surgical sutures, but with the added ability to swell upon implantation. The welling has the potential to aid in hemostasis at the wound site, reducing surgical complications.



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