Cleaning absorbable sutures with hydrogen peroxide dramatically decreases their tensile strength, according to a small US study.
Researchers compared the tensile strength of 15 nylon, polypropylene, and fast-absorbing gut sutures treated with either 3% hydrogen peroxide or water for a period of five days.
The absorbable sutures treated with water retained their strength, but those subjected to hydrogen peroxide disintegrated on handling prior to testing.
The authors said: 'While hydrogen peroxide is good for cleaning scabs, this study shows it's not the best choice for sterilising wounds closed with absorbable sutures. Saline or soap and water should be the preferred cleaning solution.'
Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery (2007) 9: 281-284