Objectives: To evaluate the influence of flap tension on the tearing characteristics of mucosal tissue samples in relation to various suture and needle characteristics.
Material and methods: Lining and masticatory mucosal tissue samples obtained from pig jaws were prepared for in vitro testing. Tension tearing diagrams of 60 experiments were traced for 3-0, 5-0 and 7-0 sutures with applied forces up to 20 N. In the second part, the same experiments were repeated with 100 diagrams to test the influence of needle characteristics with 5-0 and 6-0 sutures using only gingival tissue samples.
Results: 3-0 sutures mainly lead to tissue breakage at an average of 13.4 N. In contrast, 7-0 sutures only resulted in breakage of the thread at a mean applied force of 3.7 N. With 5-0 sutures, both events occurred at random at a mean force of 14.6 N. Irrespective of the needle characteristics, the mean breaking force for gingival samples with 5-0 and 6-0 sutures was approximately 10 N.
Conclusions: Tissue trauma may be reduced by choosing finer suture diameters, because thinner (6-0, 7-0) sutures lead to thread breakage rather than tissue breakage.