NICE recommends adoption of absorbable stitches with antibacterial protection for use on the NHS

NICE estimates an average cost saving of £13.62 per patient to the NHS as a result of reduced surgical site infections compared with current standard absorbable stitches.

NICE has today issued Medical Technologies Guidance which recommends the adoption of Plus Sutures, the first absorbable stitches with antibacterial protection.

Until now the NHS has used standard absorbable stitches for wound closure after a surgical procedure.

Plus Sutures developed by Ethicon, part of Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies, are marketed as the first and only stitches with antibacterial protection.

Plus Sutures is a range of synthetic, absorbable stitches that are either impregnated with or coated with triclosan, a purified medical grade antimicrobial, depending on the type of stitch being used. Absorbable stitches are absorbed by tissue over a period of time and do not need to be removed.

Adopting Plus Sutures would not alter the current care pathway or need any additional training. The technology is already used extensively within the NHS.

The cost is around £4.25 per suture and even though the cost of Plus Sutures is more expensive than standard sutures, cost analyses show that they still lead to cost savings because of the reduction in surgical site infections.

The NICE committee was satisfied that the cost-modelling evidence indicates that Plus Sutures is cost saving compared with non-triclosan absorbable stitches by an average of £13.62 per patient. The committee concluded that the sensitivity analyses showed Plus Sutures remained cost saving across all subgroups.

The company provided an analysis of the environmental impact of surgical site infections to NHS England and the report indicates that by preventing surgical site infections, using Plus Sutures, results in potential environmental benefits to the NHS in England by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, fresh water use, and waste generation.

This is the first piece of MedTech Guidance developed by NICE which has been published without a consultation period because of the strength of the evidence and the recommendation positive.