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Aesthet Surg J. 2013 Sep;33(3 Suppl):17S-31S. doi: 10.1177/1090820X13499343.

Barbed sutures in aesthetic plastic surgery: evolution of thought and process.

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Dr Paul is Clinical Professor of Surgery in the Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery Institute, University of California, Irvine.


The evolution of barbed suture technologies and their application in the field of plastic surgery is now in its third decade. Much has been learned along the way. Initial excitement was often followed by disappointment as we learned more about the limited longevity of minimally invasive procedures and complications arising from various suture designs of the past. Some of the early designs, developed primarily for use in aesthetic facial procedures, included free-floating, bidirectionally barbed, nonabsorbable sutures; unidirectional barbed, nonabsorbable sutures; anchored, bidirectional, nonabsorbable double-threaded sutures; and a technology combining a nonabsorbable knotted thread and absorbable cones. More recently, a new, absorbable, unidirectional barbed suture design has become available. However, it should be noted that very limited data are available for any of the modified suture designs used in this field, and much of what has been published is based on the experience of a single user. The author has used the bidirectionally barbed Quill Knotless Tissue-Closure Device (Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, Inc, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), the most common barbed suture in both facial and other aesthetic plastic surgery procedures, with considerable success in various open aesthetic facial procedures, including suspension of the brow and midface, platysmaplasty, and lateral neck suspension. It is the author's experience that completion of 1 to 2 cases with this technology is sufficient to achieve competency in the closure techniques discussed in this article and that time savings can be realized using this device in various breast and body contouring procedures, including mastopexy, reduction mammoplasty, abdominoplasty, bodylift, and brachioplasty.


barbed sutures; knotless wound closure; suture suspension; wound closure

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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