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Ethicon Plus Antibacterial Sutures: An NHS Innovation Technology Payment (ITP)

By Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, Yorkshire and Humber AHSN Added 11th Oct, 2018 Updated 23rd Jul, 2019

Ethicon Plus Antibacterial Sutures are a new type of surgical suture that reduces the rate of Surgical Site Infection (SSI), such as MRSA, through the use of antimicrobial suture packs. They contain an antiseptic coating of triclosan to prevent bacterial colonisation.

It was chosen to be one of four ITP products in the 2018/19 round and is available through the ITP untill March 2019.


32% of hospital acquired infections are surgical site infections (SSI), most of which can be prevented. Patients with an SSI are twice as likely to spend time in an intensive care unit and are five times more likely to be readmitted after discharge. They are also twice as likely to die. 50% of healthcare associated infections (HCAls) are associated with in-dwelling devices. (Leaper D. et al., 2010). Sutures are often the overlooked implant.

Ethicon Plus Antibacterial Sutures are the only sutures available containing a coating of the antiseptic triclosan.This coating is shown in vitro to inhibit bacterial colonisation of the suture for seven days or more.

Since their approval, Plus Sutures have been clinically evaluated in multiple independent studies, published in peer reviewed journals including 25 randomised controlled trials (RCTs); 10 non RCTs; and eight meta-analyses.

All eight of the meta analyses published since 2012 show a reduction in SSIs and all but the first show a statistically significant reduction in SSIs when they are used.

The costs for an SSI are around €2,000 - €4,000, while 9.8 days is the average extended length of stay (Leaper et al., 2004).

NICE 2008 Clinical Guidelines on Surgical Site Infection estimate the average cost of treating one SSI at £4,300.

Preventing SSIs also offers significant patient benefit, including a reduction in their length of stay, the antibiotics needed for treatment and avoidance of disruption to their personal life.

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