Sutures can be divided into two types – those which are absorbable and will break down harmlessly in the body over time without intervention, and those which are non-absorbable and must be manually removed if they are not left indefinitely.
The type of suture used varies on the operation, with the major criteria being the demands of the location and environment and depends on the discretion and professional experience of the Surgeons.
- Sutures to be placed internally would require re-opening if they were to be removed. Sutures which lie on the exterior of the body can be removed within minutes, and without re-opening the wound. As a result, absorbable sutures are often used internally; non-absorbable externally.
- Sutures to be placed in a stressful environment, for example the heart (constant pressure and movement) or the bladder (adverse chemical presence) may require specialized or stronger materials to perform their role; usually such sutures are either specially treated, or made of special materials, and are often non-absorbable to reduce the risk of degradation.