Suture and needles

Characteristics of the needle

  • Needles can either be round bodied or cutting and this term is a description of the profile of the needle in cross-section. They also come in different sizes (measured in millimetres) and shapes (straight, half-curved and curved).
  • The species and size of animal and purpose for which the needle is required will dictate the size, shape and cross-section of the suitable instrument.
  • Round bodied needles are designed to separate tissue fibres rather than cut them and are used either for soft tissue (such as fat) or in situations where easy splitting of the tissue fibres is possible (as in muscle). After the needle has passed through the tissue it closes tightly around the suture material forming a leak-proof suture line. A variety of more specialised round-bodied needles can be purchased for use in intestinal surgery or work with friable tissues such as liver.
  • Cutting needles are required wherever tough or dense tissue (such as skin) needs to be sutured. Various types of cutting needle are available, but the conventional cutting needle is suitable for use in the majority of circumstances.
  • Round bodied / cutting needles also exist such as the trochar point and the tapercut. Further details can be found in the Ethicon booklet “Suture Material and Surgical Needles in Veterinary Surgery”


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Updated on 12th May 2020

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