Studies were performed in dogs to determine whether the newer absorbable sutures would be preferable to catgut in the gastrointestinal tract. Dissolution times of plain and chromic catgut were compared with those of polyglycolic acid (Dexon) and polyglactin 910 (Vicryl) sutures exposed to gastrointestinal contents in vitro and in vivo. Strength and healing of gastric, jejunal, and colonic anastomoses performed with each suture were compared in dogs. Catgut sutures proved susceptible to rapid proteolytic digestion throughout the gastrointestinal tract, whereas Dexon and Vicryl were invulnerable. Type of suture did not affect microscopic healing in the stomach, jejunum, or colon. However, gastric anastomoses of Dexon were stronger at four and seven days and jejunal anastomoses of Dexon and Vicryl were stronger at seven days than anastomoses of catgut. Dexon and Vicryl may be superior to catgut for use in gastrointestinal anastomoses.
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