Tensioning of Prolene reduces creep under cyclical load: relevance to a simple pre-operative manoeuvre

J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2012 Nov;37(9):823-5. doi: 10.1177/1753193411427663. Epub 2011 Nov 24.


A longitudinal stretch or 'pre-tensioning' is a method employed by some surgeons to improve the handling characteristics of a suture. We used a tensile tester to assess the effect of pre-tensioning on the mechanical properties of two suture materials (3-0 Prolene and 3-0 Ethibond) commonly used for flexor tendon repair. A cyclical loading programme was used to simulate an early rehabilitation regime. All sutures were subsequently tested to failure (for ultimate tensile strength). The pre-tensioned Prolene sutures showed significantly less creep after cyclical loading in comparison to controls. Conversely pre-tensioning had no measurable effect on the deformation of Ethibond by creep. There was no effect on ultimate tensile strength for either material. The propensity of Prolene to creep (and thereby form a 'gap' in tendon repairs) can be reduced by pre-tensioning.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Elasticity
  • Hand / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Materials Testing
  • Polyethylene Terephthalates
  • Polypropylenes
  • Suture Techniques*
  • Sutures*
  • Tendons / surgery*
  • Tensile Strength


  • Ethibond
  • Polyethylene Terephthalates
  • Polypropylenes