The Modern Equine Vet
September 2023
Vol 13 Issue 9 2023
Click Here to View The Full Issue

News Notes

Medical Grade Honey Does Not Affect Tensile Strength of Sutures

Medical-grade honey appears to protect against surgical site infections, but does it affect the strength of the sutures used to close the wound?

Researchers from Belgium and Italy decided to find out. They conducted an in vitro study to evaluate the tensile properties of 3 synthetic absorbable suture materials that had been exposed to medical grade honey.

Ten strands of polydioxanone USP 2 (PD2), polyglactin 910 USP 2 (PG2) and poliglecaprone USP 2-0 (PC2-0) were incubated for 1, 7, 14, 21 and 28 days in several substances, including medical-grade honey, phosphate-buffered saline, equine plasma and medical-grade honey mixed with equine plasma.

All the materials that were incubated in the honey had higher tensile strength compared with those incubated in equine plasma and buffered saline:

  • Polydioxanone compared with plasma (P<0.05, mean difference (md) = 16.95 N, CI 95% (9.19–24.70 N)) and phosphate-buffered saline (P< 0.05, md = 14.48 N CI 95% (6.73–22.23 N)) on day 7 and the remaining times.
  • Polyglactin compared with equine plasma (P<0.05, md = 69.28 N CI 95% [64.16–74.40 N]) and phosphate-buffered saline (P< 0.05, md = 56.90 N CI 95% [51.78–62.02 N]) until day 28.
  • Poliglecaprone compared with plasma (P< 0.05 md = 12.40 N CI 95% [4.59 N–20.20 N]) and phosphate-buffered saline (P< 0.05 md = 11.23 CI 95% [3.42–19.03 N]) on day 7 and the remaining times.

The researchers said a limitation of the study was that the “sutures were unloaded during incubation and a single cycle-to-failure test was only performed,” which may not reflect the shear forces from an animal recovering from surgery.

However, they found that medical-grade honey “did not negatively affect the tensile strength of the suture material and can safely be applied in contact with suture materials commonly used in equine surgery,” the researchers wrote. MeV

For more information:

Madsen K, Martens A, Haspeslagh M, et al. The effect of medical-grade honey on tensile strength, strain, and Young’s modulus of synthetic absorbable suture material used in equine surgery. Equine Vet J. 2023 June 16.