Wound Closure: Sutures and Tapes

Length: 3 weeks (introduction lecture, independent study and final presentations)

Level: 2nd year Biomaterials/Bioengineering

Key skills: Group working, communication (presentation skills) and independent study

Assessment: Group report and presentation

In the US around 250 million sutures per year are used for a variety of treatments, from treating minor cuts to being used in organ transplantation. Thus, there is a large demand for sutures in various shapes and forms. This case study requires you to consider the factors involved in suture function, construction and selection. This is a group-based activity on sutures and tapes used for wound closure. 

Session 1 (Introduction Lecture)

Background information on suture technology. This covers the various types of suture that can be used, suture requirements, how they are used, types of construction tapes.

Sessions 2 and 3

Independent study where the lecturer makes himself available for help guidance.

Session 4

Group presentations


  • Summarise the key stages of wound healing 
  • Find out the time taken for the wound to regain 50% of its original strength
  • Find out which type of suture construction reduces the possibility of wound infection.
  • Explain how polymer morphology affects the rate of biodegradation.
  • Find out when a tape would be used instead of a suture.


Each group must submit a single written report addressing the above tasks and summarising the main findings and conclusions drawn. The report is to be 1500 words long (about 4 pages) not including diagrams. Each group must also give a 10 minute presentation (40% of the case study mark). Ensure you introduce who you are and the main areas of your talk. Finish with a slide showing the main conclusions. Click for tips on presentations and reports.


Chu, C. C. (1997) Wound Closure Biomaterials and Devices, CRC Press LLC.

Ratner, B. D. (1996) Biomaterials Science – An introduction to Materials used in Medicine, Academic Press Ltd, London.

King, M. W., Zhang, Z., Guidoin, R. (2001) Microstructural Changes in Polyester Biotextiles during Implantation in Humans, Journal of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management, Vol 1 (3).