Measuring the friction of surgical sutures
Surgical suture, holding body tissue together after an injury or surgery, is a complex product. The thread can be surface treated or coated for a number of reasons. One of them is to facilitate the insertion through tissue, the other to hold the knots tightly. Friction of the suture over skin, is thus important to control. Measuring skin-suture friction allows improvement of these threads and their surface treatment.
With the high precision friction tester Basalt-N2, it's possible to measure the friction between small components under relatively light loads, and with a very high precision. The sutures are used as-is, and tightened by a support. The skin is simulated in these tests by silicone elastomer, but other skin replica or even real skin can be used. Only a very small amount of skin is needed for these tests.
With this setup, it is now very easy to measure the influence of many parameters : humidity, temperature, effects of different suture, influence of tension on the contact ('load'), durability, repeatability, etc.
- The setup to test sliding friction between a suture and a skin replica, or skin sample is demonstrated.
- Very repeatable friction measurements on the same type of suture can be demonstrated, making the method suitable for quality control and development.
- Differences in coefficient of friction are small but can be distinguished reliably thanks to the precision of the instrument and the ease of doing repeat tests.
- Optimisation of the friction of sutures for different tissue types can be done, statistical data are easy to collect.