Comparative evaluation of the efficacy of a novel tetracycline-coated suture with triclosan-coated and noncoated sutures on bacterial load reduction: A prospective in vitro study : Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology

Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Original article

Comparative evaluation of the efficacy of a novel tetracycline-coated suture with triclosan-coated and noncoated sutures on bacterial load reduction: A prospective in vitro study

Banodkar, Akshaya Bhupesh; Nandgaonkar, Vaibhavi Pandurang; Gaikwad, Rajesh Prabhakar; Fernandes, Lynette Custodio; Patil, Chitra Laxmikant; Batho, Amrita Dharmendra

Author Information
Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology: Nov–Dec 2022 - Volume 26 - Issue 6 - p 539-543
doi: 10.4103/jisp.jisp_453_21
  • Open



Surgical site infections (SSIs) are the second-most common postoperative complications next to urinary tract infections.[1] The most common pathogen causing these infections is Staphylococcus aureus, a Gram-positive bacterium, which is responsible in 23% of the cases.[2] According to Powell et al., of the 1,053 periodontal procedures performed, there were 22 infections, for an overall prevalence of 2.09%.[3] Surgical sutures are sterile filaments used to close wounds and provide support during the healing process.[4] However, these sutures are continuously bathed in saliva when used for periodontal surgical procedures and become the reservoir of salivary bacteria. There are few novel sutures developed to combat the postoperative infections, which include antibacterial sutures, drug-eluting sutures, stem cell-seeded sutures, and smart sutures.[5]

Drug-eluting sutures can be a preferable alternative to conventional sutures as they prevent wound infections to spread and give better-wound healing.[6] Triclosan-coated suture is the first drug-eluting suture approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2002.[5] Since then, the use of this suture has been increased in various general as well as periodontal surgical procedures. The most recent randomized controlled trial done by Karde et al. in 2019,[7] concluded that triclosan-coated as well chlorhexidine-coated sutures provide a better reduction in bacterial load and wound healing compared to conventional sutures when used in periodontal flap surgery. However, triclosan has its own disadvantages such as cross-resistance with other antibiotics, target-specific action against Escherichia coli, and wound breakdown.[8]

This effectuated more curiosity among the researchers, and various attempts had been done to develop a novel suture which could fight against a variety of salivary microorganisms. One such tetracycline-coated suture, developed by Shanmugasundaram et al. in 2011,[9] was tested against Staphylococcus aureus and proteus and has proved to be efficacious in reducing the bacterial load. Since tetracycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic,[10] it can provide a better antibacterial property against salivary microflora than triclosan which has target specific activity against few microorganisms. Thus, the primary objective of this study is to evaluate and compare the efficacy of tetracycline-coated with triclosan-coated and nonantibacterial-coated sutures on bacterial load reduction to prevent SSI by measuring zone of inhibition, while the secondary objective is to evaluate the efficacy of tetracycline-coated, triclosan-coated, and nonantibacterial-coated sutures individually on bacterial load reduction to prevent SSI. The null hypothesis of this research study is “There is no difference in the efficacy of tetracycline-coated, triclosan–coated, and nonantibacterial-coated sutures on bacterial load reduction to prevent surgical site infection,” while the alternate hypothesis being “Tetracycline-coated sutures have greater efficacy compared to triclosan-coated and nonantibacterial-coated sutures on bacterial load reduction to prevent surgical site infection.”


This is a prospective in vitro study approved by the institutional ethics committee. The sample size calculation was done using the following formula by fixing an a error of 5%, b error of 20%, and statistical power at 80%.[7]

Where Za is the z variate of alpha error which is a constant with value 1.96, Zb is the z variate of beta error which is a constant with value 0.84 and s is pooled standard deviation which is taken as 170. According to this, the minimum sample size required in each group was calculated as 20.

A total of 20 patients who reported to the department of periodontology of our college were screened for the eligibility. A written consent was taken from all the included participants. Twenty patients (11 males and 9 females) who met the following inclusion criteria were selected. A written consent was taken from all the included participants. Inclusion criteria were age between 25–60 years and free of any systemic diseases. Patients with moderate periodontitis having 2 or more interproximal sites with clinical attachment level (CAL) ≥4 mm (not on the same tooth) or 2 or more interproximal sites with probing pocket depth (PPD) ≥5 mm, were included in the study. Exclusion criteria were smokers, immunocompromised patients, pregnant and/or lactating women, and patients who have taken antibiotics in any form in the past 3 months were excluded from the study.

Three varieties of sutures were included in this study, which were grouped as follows,

  1. Group A: Tetracycline-coated sutures (4-0) braided
  2. Group B: Triclosan-coated sutures (4-0) braided (Vicryl plus suture)
  3. Group C (Control group): Nonantibacterial-coated sutures (4-0) braided (Vicryl suture).

Figure 1 shows a flow chart to depict a design of this study. Tetracycline-coated sutures were prepared by following the procedure given by Shanmugasundaram et al.[9] Figure 2 depicts the procedure performed for the preparation of tetracycline-coated sutures. Undyed Vicryl suture (4-0) was dipped into 1% sodium hydroxide for half an hour, followed by washing with distilled water. This process is called as scouring of the suture which was performed to remove natural and added impurities present in suture, in order to improve the absorbency [Figure 2b and c].

Figure 1:
Flow chart of study design. n – number of samples
Figure 2:
Procedure for preparation of tetracycline-coated sutures. (a) Armamentarium showing from left to right 1% sodium hydroxide, 2% aqueous acetic acid, 2 g sodium alginate polymer, 8 g chitosan and, undyed vicryl suture; (b and c) Scouring of suture; (d and e) Preparation of chitosan solution; (f) Placement of suture into the chitosan solution; (g) Twenty pieces of suture of 3 cm length; (h) Placement of suture threads into tetracycline solution; (i) Tetracycline-coated sutures

Chitosan solution was prepared by stirring a dispersion of 8 g chitosan in 2% (v/v) aqueous acetic acid solution at 60°C for 1 h [Figure 2d and e]. Then, 2 g of sodium alginate polymer was added to the chitosan solution and stirred for 10 min. The scoured suture material was immersed with this solution for about 2 h [Figure 2f]. The material was then dried at 80°C for 5 min. After drying, it was cut into 20 pieces, each of length of 3 cm [Figure 2g]. Tetracycline solution was prepared by mixing 250 mg of tetracycline hydrochloride powder in 10 ml of distilled water. Then, polymer-coated pieces of suture were dipped into this solution for 24 h followed by drying for 48 h at room temperature [Figure 2h and i].

0.5–1 ml of unstimulated saliva was collected from 20 participants in plastic tube by suctioning using syringes. The collected saliva was immediately transferred to plastic Eppendorf tubes. Under aseptic conditions, 0.1 ml of the saliva sample was added to 0.9 ml diluents. After thorough mixing, 0.1 ml of the mixture (10–1) was added to a tube containing 0.9 ml diluent and mixed again. Using this method, 10–6 dilution was prepared for each sample of saliva. Then, 50 ml of sample was dropped onto the surface of the blood agar plate using a micropipette, followed by placing the plates into the dry incubator at 37°C for 24 h.

The assessment of the microbiological parameters was done using the agar diffusion test. Three types of sutures were laid over the incubated agar plates. Afterward, the plates were again incubated for 24 h at 37°C, and thereafter, the growth of bacteria was determined below each suture (zone of inhibition). The presence of antimicrobial activity is indicated by the absence of bacterial growth directly below the test sample.[11]

The zone of inhibition of these sutures was calculated using the formula, H = (D-d)/2

Where H = zone of inhibition (in mm)

D = the total diameter of suture along with zone of inhibition (in mm)

d = the diameter of suture (in mm)

All data were entered into a computer by giving coding system, proofed for entry errors. Data obtained were compiled in an MS Office Excel Sheet (v 2019, Microsoft Redmond Campus, Redmond, Washington, United States). Data were subjected to statistical analysis using Statistical package for social sciences (SPSS v 26.0, IBM). Descriptive statistics such as mean, standard deviation, and median for numerical data was depicted. The normality of numerical data was checked using Shapiro–Wilk test and was found that the data did not follow a normal curve; hence, nonparametric tests have been used for comparisons. Intergroup comparison (three groups) of zone of inhibition was made using Kruskal–Wallis ANOVA followed by pair-wise comparison using Mann–Whitney U test. For all the statistical tests, P < 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant, and P < 0.01 was considered to be statistically highly significant, keeping a error at 5% and b error at 20%, thus giving a power to the study as 80%.


Zone of inhibition around every suture against salivary microflora was measured in this study [Figure 3]. The zone of inhibition of Group A is 14.45 ± 0.826 mm, Group B is 1.40 ± 0.503 mm, and Group C is 0 mm [Figure 4 and Table 1]. On intergroup comparison, there was a statistically highly significant difference seen for the zone of inhibition between all groups with P = 0 (P < 0.01), having a higher value for Group A. On pairwise comparisons between three groups, there was a statistically highly significant difference seen for the zone of inhibition between Group A versus Group B, Group A versus Group C, and Group B versus Group C with P = 0 (P < 0.01) [Table 2].

Figure 3:
Zone of inhibition around sutures. (a) Zone of inhibition around tetracycline-coated suture; (b) Zone of inhibition around triclosan-coated suture; (c) Zone of inhibition around nonantibacterial-coated suture)
Figure 4:
Intergroup comparison of zone of inhibition
Table 1:
Intergroup comparison of bacterial load reduction
Table 2:
Pairwise comparison using Mann–Whitney U-test


SSI can hamper wound healing after periodontal surgery. Surgical sutures play a very critical role in the accumulation of saliva and thus salivary bacteria at the wound site due to their wicking action.[12] Postoperative management of patients undergoing periodontal surgery includes the administration of systemic antibiotics, but due to lack of sustained drug delivery at the wound site, SSIs are seen after various periodontal surgeries. Thus, drug-eluting sutures were invented, and triclosan-coated suture is one of the most widely used antibacterial-coated suture. However, due to various drawbacks of triclosan, a need has arisen to find an alternative to it and tetracycline-coated suture can be a glimpse of hope. Hence, the present study evaluated if tetracycline-coated suture can be used as an alternative to triclosan-coated suture in reducing the bacterial load after periodontal surgeries.

In the present study, both the sutures, triclosan-coated and tetracycline-coated sutures showed zone of inhibition around them but a statistically highly significant difference was seen in the zone of inhibition between tetracycline- and triclosan-coated sutures, with a higher value for tetracycline-coated suture. This indicates a better antibacterial efficacy of a novel tetracycline-coated suture. It can be contributed to the broad-spectrum activity of tetracycline against Gram-positive as well as Gram-negative organisms present in saliva.[13]

Tetracycline has been used in various forms inside the periodontal pocket to treat periodontal disease. It also has anti-collagenase property which is not related to its antibacterial property.[13] Thus, proving it to be one notch higher than triclosan, which has multiple drawbacks. A randomized controlled trial by Gupta et al. in 2017[14] compared the plain sutures with sutures coated with tetracycline pomade and chlorhexidine pomade and concluded that the pomade coated sutures were effective as compared to control in reducing bacterial colonization. Similar was proved in an in vitro trial done by Shanmugasundaram et al.[9] and Viju et al. (2013).[15] Chitosan used in the polymer coating solution also added some advantages to the tetracycline-coated suture. It has properties of hemostasis, wound healing, and bone repair. It is also known to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial actions.[16] All these findings were similar to what we have achieved in this present study.

Various systematic reviews by Daoud et al.,[17] Edmiston et al. (2014),[18] Wang et al.,[19] Sajid et al.,[20] Chang et al.[21] have been done to evaluate the effectiveness of triclosan-coated suture and concluded that it has better antibacterial property than conventional sutures to combat the risk of SSI. The present study showed similar results in accordance with these systematic reviews. However, to the best of our knowledge, no clinical trial either in vitro or in vivo has been performed to compare the efficacy of triclosan-coated sutures versus tetracycline-coated sutures to date.

There are a few limitations of this study like in vivo clinical trial was not performed to evaluate clinical parameters like wound healing, also the physical characteristics of a novel tetracycline-coated suture such as tensional strength, knot strength, and drug release rate, were not measured. Future research is required in this field using different agents and antimicrobials which can efficiently protect the surgical site with minimal adverse effects.


The present study concluded that tetracycline-coated suture and triclosan-coated suture have antibacterial efficacy against salivary microflora but tetracycline-coated suture can be an alternative to triclosan-coated suture to reduce biofilm formation at the surgical site after periodontal surgeries, since it is proved to be having more efficiency against salivary microflora compared to triclosan-coated suture. However, in vivo clinical trials should be done to evaluate its physical as well as antibacterial properties.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


I would like to extend my gratitude to Mrs. Bhagyashri Kulkarni, Lab Technician from Department of Physiology and Biochemistry, for guiding me in the preparation of tetracycline coated suture.


1. Napolitano LM Perspectives in surgical infections:What does the future hold? Surg Infect (Larchmt) 2010 11 111 23
2. Katz S, Izhar M, Mirelman D Bacterial adherence to surgical sutures. A possible factor in suture induced infection Ann Surg 1981 194 35 41
3. Powell CA, Mealey BL, Deas DE, McDonnell HT, Moritz AJ Post-surgical infections:Prevalence associated with various periodontal surgical procedures J Periodontol 2005 76 329 33
4. Huang L, Taylor H, Gerber M, Orndorff PE, Horton JR, Tonelli A Formation of antibiotic, biodegradable/bioabsorbable polymers by processing with neomycin sulfate and its inclusion compound with b-cyclodextrin J Appl Polym Sci 1999 74 937 47
5. Anureet AA, Geeta GA, Janita JC, Param PM, Manju MN Drug eluting sutures:A recent update J Appl Pharm Sci 2019 9 111 23
6. Rothenburger S, Spangler D, Bhende S, Burkley D In vitro antimicrobial evaluation of Coated VICRYL*Plus Antibacterial Suture (coated polyglactin 910 with triclosan) using zone of inhibition assays Surg Infect (Larchmt) 2002 3 Suppl 1 S79 87
7. Karde PA, Sethi KS, Mahale SA, Mamajiwala AS, Kale AM, Joshi CP Comparative evaluation of two antibacterial-coated resorbable sutures versus noncoated resorbable sutures in periodontal flap surgery:A clinico-microbiological study J Indian Soc Periodontol 2019 23 220 5
8. Carey DE, McNamara PJ The impact of triclosan on the spread of antibiotic resistance in the environment Front Microbiol 2014 5 780
9. Shanmugasundaram OL, Gowda RV, Saravanan D Drug release and antimicrobial studies on polylactic acid suture Int J Biotechnol Mol Biol Res 2011 2 80 9
10. Grossman TH Tetracycline antibiotics and resistance Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med 2016 6 a025387
11. Bauer AW, Kirby WM, Sherris JC, Turck M Antibiotic susceptibility testing by a standardized single disk method Am J Clin Pathol 1966 45 493 6
12. Selvig KA, Biagiotti GR, Leknes KN, Wikesjö UM Oral tissue reactions to suture materials Int J Periodontics Restorative Dent 1998 18 474 87
13. Seymour RA, Heasman PA Tetracyclines in the management of periodontal diseases. A review J Clin Periodontol 1995 22 22 35
14. Gupta SJ, Tevatia S, Khatri V, Dodwad V Comparative evaluation of antiseptic pomade to prevent bacterial colonization after periodontal flap surgery-A clinical & microbiological study J Dent Spec 2017 5 102 7
15. Viju S, Thilagavathi G Characterization of tetracycline hydrochloride drug incorporated silk sutures J Text Inst 2013 104 289 94
16. Kmiec M, Pighinelli L, Tedesco MF, Silva MM, Reis V Chitosan-properties and applications in dentistry Adv Tissue Eng Regen Med 2017 2 205 11
17. Daoud FC, Edmiston CE Jr, Leaper D Meta-analysis of prevention of surgical site infections following incision closure with triclosan-coated sutures:Robustness to new evidence Surg Infect (Larchmt) 2014 15 165 81
18. Edmiston CE Jr, Daoud FC, Leaper D Is there an evidence-based argument for embracing an antimicrobial (triclosan)-coated suture technology to reduce the risk for surgical-site infections?A meta-analysis Surgery 2014 155 362 3
19. Wang ZX, Jiang CP, Cao Y, Ding YT Systematic review and meta-analysis of triclosan-coated sutures for the prevention of surgical-site infection Br J Surg 2013 100 465 73
20. Sajid MS, Craciunas L, Sains P, Singh KK, Baig MK Use of antibacterial sutures for skin closure in controlling surgical site infections:A systematic review of published randomized, controlled trials Gastroenterol Rep (Oxf) 2013 1 42 50
21. Chang WK, Srinivasa S, Morton R, Hill AG Triclosan-impregnated sutures to decrease surgical site infections:Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials Ann Surg 2012 255 854 9

Agar diffusion test; surgical site infection; suture; tetracycline-coated suture; triclosan-coated suture; zone of inhibition

Copyright: © 2022 Indian Society of Periodontology