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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 272-277

6-0 nylon versus 6-0 vicryl rapide in chieloplasty

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Faculty of Dental Sciences, SGT University, Gurgaon, Haryana, India

Date of Web Publication17-Feb-2017

Correspondence Address:
Payal Luthra
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Faculty of Dental Sciences, SGT University, Gurgaon - 122 505, Haryana
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DOI: 10.4103/ams.ams_31_16

PMID: 28299270

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Context: Facial cosmetic result is one of the most concerning issues for the parents who get their children operated for cleft lip. Moreover, the discomfort associated with the suture removal encourages one to use any new technology that may replace the need for suture placement. The type of suture material used in surgery has been a long-standing debate among surgeons. In this study, we compared rapidly absorbable suture material (Vicryl Rapide™) with nonabsorbable suture material (nylon). Aims: The aim of this study is to compare the appearance and course of scar, wound infection, and patient's parent perception using Vicryl Rapide and nylon in nonsyndromic congenital cleft lip repair. Settings and Design: This was a randomized prospective controlled clinical trial. Materials and Methods: Twenty patients, in the age group of 3–18 months treated for unilateral congenital cleft lip deformity, were included and randomly allocated to two groups with ten patients each. Skin suturing was done with 6-0 polyamide and 6-0 irradiated polyglactin in Groups A and B, respectively. Patients were evaluated at 1 week, 1, 3, 6 months, and 1 year postoperatively in person by the observer as well as by the patient's parent. Statistical Analysis Used: Descriptive statistical analysis was done using SPSS 20, and Student's t-test was applied. Results: It was found that Vicryl Rapide showed more hypopigmented scars and raised scars than nylon at the end of 1 year though overall appearance was comparable between the groups. Conclusions: Vicryl Rapide showed poorer cosmetic outcomes in terms of height and pigmentation of car as compared to nylon suture of same thickness. However, since scars tend to improve with time, a bigger sample size and a longer follow-up are required to generalize this statement.

Keywords: Absorbable, congenital cleft lip, irradiated polyglactin 910, polyamide, sutures

How to cite this article:
Rao J K, Luthra P, Arya V, Siwach V, Sheorain AK, Gupta M. 6-0 nylon versus 6-0 vicryl rapide in chieloplasty. Ann Maxillofac Surg 2016;6:272-7

How to cite this URL:
Rao J K, Luthra P, Arya V, Siwach V, Sheorain AK, Gupta M. 6-0 nylon versus 6-0 vicryl rapide in chieloplasty. Ann Maxillofac Surg [serial online] 2016 [cited 2017 May 24];6:272-7. Available from: http://www.amsjournal.com/text.asp?2016/6/2/272/200330

  Introduction Top

The basic goal of primary cleft lip repair is achievement of functional and cosmetic reconstruction of the lip causing excessive scar tissue formation, wound breakdown, or restriction of maxillofacial growth.[1],[2] The type of suture material used in cleft lip surgery has been a long-standing debate among surgeons. Some prefer nonabsorbable suture material because of its easy handling and a minimal inflammatory response [3] while the others prefer absorbable sutures so as to preclude the need of additional procedures sedation or general anesthetic and distressing the child.[4]

Nylon is a synthetic, nonabsorbable, monofilament suture made of a chemically inert polyamide polymer fiber and has low tissue reactivity. The tensile strength of this material at 2 weeks is high, with a potential loss of 50% by 1–2 years due to progressive hydrolysis over time.[5] Irradiated polyglactin (IRPG) 910 (Vicryl Rapide ™) is a synthetic suture which is a braided copolymer of glycolic and lactic acid that is surface treated with polyglactin 370 and calcium stearate and has received gamma radiation. This radiation alters the suture material's molecular structure and enhances its absorption rate in vivo.[6]

There is an increasing tendency nowadays to treat and operate young children and infants on day care basis. At the same time, suture removal is a great concern for both the surgeons and parents.[7] Hence, we conducted a study to compare the appearance and course of scar and wound infection using an absorbable suture (Vicryl Rapide) and a nonabsorbable suture (nylon) for skin closure in nonsyndromic unilateral congenital cleft lip repair by the observer as well as patient's parent.

  Materials and Methods Top

Patients in the age group of 3–18 months with congenital unilateral cleft lip (complete or incomplete) were enrolled in the study with the following inclusion criteria: congenital unilateral cleft lip, nonsyndromic, and medically fit to undergo surgical procedure under general anesthesia. A total of twenty patients who met the criteria were included in this study, and they were divided into two groups randomly:

  • Group A: (n = 10) cleft lip repair was performed using nonabsorbable suture (polyamide or nylon) [Figure 1]
  • Group B: (n = 10) cleft lip repair was performed using absorbable suture (IRPG 910) [Figure 2].
Figure 1: Suturing done with 6-0 polyamide

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Figure 2: Suturing done with 6-0 irradiated polyglactin 910

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All patients underwent routine blood tests, and informed consent was obtained from parents before surgery. The study was approved by the Institution's Ethical Committee. All patients underwent cleft lip repair using modified Millard's rotational advancement technique by the same surgeon. Primary rhinoplasty with deviated nasal septal correction was also performed in patients with complete cleft lip. Patients were randomly allocated to both the groups. All patients in Group A required general anesthesia or sedation for removal of sutures on the 7th postoperative day. Patients in both groups were evaluated in person using a scale which was modified from Vancouver scar scale [Table 1] for observer's assessment and from patient and observer scar assessment scale (POSAS) [Table 2] for assessment of patient's parents' perception. Patients were followed and evaluated at 1 week, 1, 3, 6 months, and 1 year [Figure 3] and [Figure 4]. Descriptive statistical analysis using SPSS 20 (IBM Corp. Released 2011. IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 20.0. Armonk, NY) was used to compare demographics and scar characteristics of the study groups. Differences between the groups were analyzed using Student's t-test. P ≤ 0.05 or less was considered clinically significant.
Table 1: Observer's evaluation proforma

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Table 2: Patient's parent evaluation proforma

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Figure 3: Patient photographs for Group A

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Figure 4: Patient photographs for Group B

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  Results Top

The average age of the patients was 10.3 months in Group A and 6.6 months in Group B. Nearly 80% (n = 8) of patients in Group A and 60% (n = 6) of patients in Group B were males and rest females. According to the observer, there was no significant difference in terms of vascularity, pliability, width of scar, wound infection, and break in white line between the two groups at the end of 1 year. However, the difference between two groups was significant in terms of pigmentation and height of scar at the end of 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year with P < 0.05, the values being higher in IRPG 910 group [Table 3]. Furthermore, a significant difference was found in terms of pliability at 3 and 6 months which became insignificant at the end of 1 year [Table 3]. However, more depressed scars were found in nylon group, for which there were no scoring criteria in our scale. As per the patient's parent's evaluation, the difference in color of scar between the two groups (P < 0.05) was significant at 1, 3, 6 months, and 1 year [Table 4], and there was a significant difference in terms of pain (<0.05) at 1 week attributed to postsurgical inflammation which was insignificant at other follow-ups [Table 4]. However, the difference was insignificant between the two groups in terms of itching, stiffness, thickness, and overall appearance of the scar. The main advantages of the IRPG 910 group children were no need for suture removal in contrast to that of polyamide group. Conscious sedation was required for suture removal in 100% of patients in nylon group.
Table 3: Comparison of observer's evaluation between Group A and Group B

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Table 4: Comparison between patient's parent evaluation in Group A and Group B

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  Discussion Top

Cleft lip patients undergo multiple surgical interventions at a very young age which poses a great challenge for the surgeons.[8] Since a long time, researcwwwwhers are looking for the cost-effective and reliable techniques along with the use of appropriate suture material for early disposal and a valid result.[9] Our study compared IRPG 910, a rapid absorbable suture material for skin closure in patients with unilateral congenital cleft lip with nonabsorbable monofilament nylon.

Vicryl Rapide has recently become popular among pediatric surgeons because of its fast absorption rate. Simply wiping with a compress is sufficient to remove the suture material without pain or inflammation or infection.[10] However, it is far more brittle than polyglactin (Vicryl) sutures and will, therefore, snap if tugged on suddenly, frustrating the novice user.[11] Nylon (Ethilon ™) sutures are traditionally preferred for their easy handling, minimal inflammatory reaction, and high tensile strength. The main disadvantage lies in the fact that these are nonabsorbable, springy, and thus difficult to tie.[12]

The scarring process is determined by many patient- and surgeon-dependent variables, including the method of skin closure and the selection of suture material. Esthetic perceptions are quite subjective in nature.[13] Furthermore, in infants with congenital cleft lip, parents' opinion is very important although their assessments may be biased because of their connections, feelings, and inner thoughts toward their child.[14]

The cleft lip surgical site was assessed postoperatively at definite intervals by a single observer and also the patient's parent independently. Methodologically, a major difference in our study was that the participants were assessed in person at a follow-up appointment which allowed the assessment of the scar in multiple visual and lighting angles.

Vascularity of the scar is dynamic and influenced by the local inflammatory response which implies that scar color tends to change with time. Hosoda et al.[15] and Davey et al.[16] stated that the degree of “redness” is indicative of the scar's potential to become hypertrophic. On assessing, the scars were assessed by visual inspection, and we found no statistically significant difference at all intervals between the two sutures in terms of redness or hyperemia of the scar. Breed et al.[17] and Niessen et al.[18], however, showed that multifilamentous Vicryl Rapide caused more tissue reaction than monofilamentous Monocryl at the end of 1 year.

We assessed scar pigmentation by applying mild pressure over the surgical site. Thus, the visible capillaries and vascular structures blanch with the application of pressure, leaving only the pigmentation information.[19] We found greater hypopigmented and hyperpigmented scars in Vicryl Rapide group with statistically significant difference at 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year. This can be attributed to the fact stated by Duprez et al. that microscopically, this suture material is absorbed mainly through phagocytosis.[10] However, Martelli et al.[20] stated that IRPG is not recommended for facial skin closure; it can result in unacceptable scarring by remaining on the surface tissues longer than 5 days.

Scarring can negatively affect the biomechanical skin properties that allow the skin its elasticity, extensibility, firmness, and tensile strength that constitute the collective definition of pliability.[21],[22] Pliability was rated in our study on a scale of 1–5 based on the degree of fibrosis in the scar tissue and was assessed subjectively by applying pressure and pinching the skin between fingers. It was found that greater fibrosis and less elasticity was seen in Vicryl Rapide group with statistically significant difference at 3 months (P = 0.029) and 6 months (0.021) and nonsignificant at 1 year as the scar became older. This may be attributed to increased tissue activity.[18] Stiffness of the scar as rated by the patient's parent did not yield any significant result between the two groups. This is in contrast to the observer's evaluation which may be due to the fact that the appearance of the scar is more important to the parents, and degree of fibrosis does not make a major difference unless evident cosmetically.

Two important characteristics in our scale which usually intended to assess hypertrophy are scar height and width. There is evidence that the extent of tissue reaction and the amount of wound tension play an important role in the development of hypertrophic scars and keloids.[23] To accurately assess scar height, we objectively measured its elevation from the normal skin plane. The results of our study showed a statistically significant difference in the height of the scar between the two groups at 3 months (P = 0.032), 6 months (P = 0.008), and 1 year (P = 0.036), scar being more raised in the Vicryl Rapide group though most of the scars were less than 2 mm in height. Simpson et al.[24] found a reduction in the incidence of hypertrophic scarring where skin was sutured with nonabsorbable nylon than with braided and absorbable dexon. On the other hand, the width of the scar width was measured using a vernier caliper, and we found no statistically significant difference between nylon and Vicryl Rapide groups. Similar results were published by Shinohara et al.[25] However, Breed et al.[17] conducted a study where the results indicated consistently and significantly that the use of Monocryl causes smaller and narrower scars than Vicryl Rapide.

Wound tension stimulates fibroblasts to produce an overabundant extracellular matrix and hence scar hypertrophy.[25] Sommerlad has stated that prolonged tissue support by the Monocryl (tensile strength - 21 days) as compared to Vicryl Rapide (8–10 days) causes reduced tension on the scar tissue leading to smaller scars.[26] This is of great importance in children operated for cleft lip and hence our study since increased mobility in this region due to crying and sucking already contributes to increased wound tension.

Histological studies of Cupid bow have revealed that the sebaceous glands are prominent in the white roll which makes it susceptible to postoperative adnexal infections.[25] Multifilaments bring with them a higher possibility for infection than monofilament suture due to their braided structures.[12] Shinohara et al.[25] in their study found an increased percentage of stitch abscesses in nylon than absorbable monofilament suture materials such as polydioxanone sutures and Polyglactin (PGLA) sutures, whereas Theopold et al.[27] found no difference in infection rates between sites sutured with 4-0 Novafil and 4-0 Vicryl Rapide. Tandon et al.[28] studied 236 wounds sutured with Vicryl Rapide and noted no cases of stitch abscesses or other wound complications which could be attributed to the suture material. We encountered only 1 case of wound infection at 1 week in nylon group. No stitch abscesses were encountered signifying that the early disappearance of Vicryl Rapide sutures was advantageous in this regard.

Pain in the scar as rated by the patient's parent was found to have a statistically significant difference at 1 week as rated by the patient's parent while there was no significant difference with regard to itching between the groups. Analgesic syrups were routinely prescribed to all patients for 3 days. More pain was rated in the Vicryl Rapide group than the nylon group. This can be attributed to increased tissue reaction and resistance to the passage of suture than nylon which is a more pliable suture. Lian et al.[29] have advocated the use of glycerol gel to lubricate the Vicryl Rapide so as to minimize resistance and trauma to the tissues.

The observer's opinion is influenced by vascularization, thickness, pigmentation, and relief, whereas the patient's opinion is primarily influenced by pruritus and scar thickness.[30] Frans et al.[31] in their study using POSAS found that the observer was less positive than the patients were about their scars. This is similar to our study where a significant result was found in the overall appearance between the two groups by the observer while the difference was nonsignificant when evaluated by the patient's parent.

Although we have not studied the absorption time of Vicryl Rapide sutures in our study, at 4th week, we have seen that there were no stitches as stitches fall off spontaneously. These findings are in concordance with the other studies in the literature.[25] Tandon et al.[28] have shown that at day 16, more than two-third of IRPG 910 stitches fall off spontaneously. No allergic reaction was observed in our study.

Thus, our study reported poorer cosmetic appearance in Vicryl Rapide group in terms of pigmentation and height of the scar at the end of 1 year while the pliability of scar improved at the end of 1 year. Furthermore, patient's parents found only color of scar to have a significant difference between the two groups at the end of 1 year and no significant difference with respect to thickness and stiffness of scar between the two groups at all follow-ups.

  Conclusions Top

Thus, we conclude that the cosmetic appearance of cleft lip scar with Vicryl Rapide is poorer as compared to the nylon suture of same thickness at the end of 1 year. Although it has the distinct advantage of being the fastest absorbing synthetic absorbable suture obviating the need for patient to undergo another traumatic surgical procedure for suture removal, providing the patient with a good cosmetic appearance for a lifetime definitely demands more attention.

There are several limitations to our study. First, sample size is small. Follow-up period is small as the cosmetic appearance seems to improve with time,[31] and studies with longer follow-up periods are thus required to assess the long-term influence of these suture materials on scarring and cosmetic appearance. Asking patients to return for wound checks and photographs proved to be difficult even with the monetary incentive. Another important limitation is that the sample includes both complete and incomplete cleft lips which may show different healing characteristics. Further research with increased follow-up time and a bigger sample size is needed to generalize our findings.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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Tibesar RJ, Black A, Sidman JD. Surgical repair of cleft lip and cleft palate. Oper Tech Otolaryngol 2009;20:245-55.  Back to cited text no. 2
Parell GJ, Becker GD. Comparison of absorbable with nonabsorbable sutures in closure of facial skin wounds. Arch Facial Plast Surg 2003;5:488-90.  Back to cited text no. 3
Collin TW, Blyth K, Hodgkinson PD. Cleft lip repair without suture removal. J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg 2009;62:1161-5.  Back to cited text no. 4
Hochberg J, Meyer KM, Marion MD. Suture choice and other methods of skin closure. Surg Clin North Am 2009;89:627-41.  Back to cited text no. 5
Matricic D, Kreszinger M, Pirkic B, Vnuk D, Radisic B, Gracner B. Comparative study of skin closure in dogs with polypropylene and polyglactin 910. Vet Arh 2005;75:383-90.  Back to cited text no. 6
Bhuiyan M, Chowdhury S, Hoque S, Salek AJ. Evaluation of the outcome of IRPG 910 and polypropylene in terms of cosmesis and cost for skin closure in cleft lip surgery. J Paediatr Surg Bangladesh 2010;1:25-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
Datarkar A, Rai A, Rewanwar D. Comperative analysis of unilateral cleft lip closure using absorbable and nonabsorbable sutures: A randomised clinical study. Plast Aesthet Res 2014;1:54.  Back to cited text no. 8
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Aderriotis D, Sàndor GK. Outcomes of irradiated polyglactin 910 Vicryl Rapide fast-absorbing suture in oral and scalp wounds. J Can Dent Assoc 1999;65:345-7.  Back to cited text no. 11
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Niessen FB, Spauwen PH, Kon M. The role of suture material in hypertrophic scar formation: Monocryl vs. Vicryl-rapide. Ann Plast Surg 1997;39:254-60.  Back to cited text no. 18
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Martelli H, Catena D, Rahon H, Boukheloua B, Wicart F, Pellerin D. Skin sutures in pediatric surgery. Use of a fast-resorption synthetic thread. Presse Med 1991;20:2194-8.  Back to cited text no. 20
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Shetlar MR, Dobrkovsky M, Linares H, Villarante R, Shetlar CL, Larson DL. The hypertrophic scar. Glycoprotein and collagen components of burn scars. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1971;138:298-300.  Back to cited text no. 23
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Theopold C, Potter S, Dempsey M, O'Shaughnessy M. A randomised controlled trial of absorbable versus non-absorbable sutures for skin closure after open carpal tunnel release. J Hand Surg Eur 2012;37:350-3.  Back to cited text no. 27
Tandon SC, Kelly J, Turtle M, Irwin ST. Irradiated polyglactin 910: A new synthetic absorbable suture. J R Coll Surg Edinb 1995;40:185-7.  Back to cited text no. 28
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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]


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