UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Laceration Repair

Keywords: laceration, suture, absorbable (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/17/2013 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 9/27/2022)
Click here to contact Jenny Guyther, MD

A facial laceration on a child can present a unique challenge which is not limited to the initial visit.  The traditional teaching has been to use nonabsorbable sutures and have the patient return in 5 days for removal.  A recent study compared the cosmetic outcome of linear facial lacerations 1 to 5 cm that were closed with either Ethicon fast absorbing surgical gut or monocryl nonabsorbable sutures.  Patients were randomized and returned to the ED in 4-7 days and 3-4 months. Scars were assessed by caregivers and blinded physicians.  Results showed that caregivers preferred absorbable sutures.  Visual analog scores as given by caregivers were not statistically different between the 2 groups at the 3 month mark.  The blinded physicians did give better cosmetic outcome scores to the absorbable suture group which differs from previous studies that had shown equivocal results.  Of note, all absorbable sutures were no longer visible after 14 days.

Bottom line:  Try absorbable sutures the next time you are suturing a child and the parents may be happier and you will not have to try and take out your sutures from a squirming, screaming child.

References

Luck et al.  Comparison of Cosmetic Outcomes of Absorbable Versus Nonabsorbable Sutures in Pediatric Facial Lacerations.  Pediatric Emergency Care.  Vol 29.  No 6.  2013.