We have developed a local anesthetic-eluting suture system which would combine the function and ubiquity of the suture for surgical repair with the controlled release properties of a biodegradable polymeric matrix. Drug-free and drug-loaded poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) sutures were fabricated by electrospinning, with or without the local anesthetic bupivacaine. The tensile strength of the electrospun sutures decreased as drug content increased, but strains remained relatively similar across all groups. Sutures released their entire drug payload over the course of 12 days and maintained approximately 12% of their initial tensile strength after 14 days of incubation in vitro. In a rat skin wound model, local analgesia was achieved 1 day after surgery and lasted approximately 1 week in 90% of treated animals (n=10, p<0.05), and all wounds were able to heal normally without the need for further reinforcement. The sutures caused tissue reaction in vivo that was comparable to that seen with a commercially available suture composed of PLGA. Such sutures may enhance perioperative analgesia and mitigate the need for standard postoperative opioid analgesics.
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