To examine the effects of different suture materials and suturation techniques on cartilage reshaping in a rabbit model.
Twenty-two rabbits were used. Posterior skin flaps were elevated, and 4 cartilage struts were prepared on each auricula. Each strut was bent at its midpoint, and the skin under the bent area was elevated only in 1 side. The strut was sutured either with catgut, polyglactin 910, polydioxanone, or polypropylene sutures. Anteriorly, the suture was passed subcutaneously on 1 side, while transcutaneously on the other. Animals were killed at the first and fourth months. The shape of the struts was macroscopically evaluated. Inflammation and foreign body reaction around the suture were examined under light microscopy.
Maintenance of shape with all suture materials was significantly lower in the transcutaneously sutured group than in the subcutaneously sutured group. Because of high rates of suture loss in the transcutaneously sutured group, further evaluations on cartilage tissue were made only in subcutaneously sutured group. Success rate in maintenance of shape was similarly high in the polydioxanone, polyglactin 910, and polypropylene suture groups; however, it was significantly lower in the catgut suture group.
Long-lasting absorbable suture materials are as effective as nonabsorbable ones, and the subcutaneous technique is more effective than the transcutaneous technique.