The NHS Innovation and Technology Payment (ITP) programme went live on 1 April 2018. Four innovations will be fast-tracked into use through the programme, supported by the AHSN Network. One of these is Plus Sutures.

Innovation type: consumable

Absorbable sutures containing an antiseptic coating of triclosan to prevent bacterial colonisation.

Challenge/problem identified

32% of hospital acquired infections are surgical site infections (SSI), most of which can be prevented.

Patients with an SSI are twice as likely to spend time in an intensive care unit and are five times more likely to be readmitted after discharge. They are also twice as likely to die.

50% of healthcare associated infections (HCAls) are associated with in-dwelling devices. (Leaper D. et al., 2010). Sutures are often the overlooked implant.

The costs for an SSI are around €2,000-€4,000, while 9.8 days is the average extended length of stay (Leaper et al., 2004).

Plus Sutures

The solution

Ethicon Plus Antibacterial Sutures are the only sutures available containing a coating of the antiseptic triclosan.

The triclosan used in Plus Sutures —IRGACARE® MP — is the purest form available, and is shown in vitro to inhibit bacterial colonisation of the suture for seven days or more.

Since their approval, Plus Sutures have been clinically evaluated in multiple independent studies, published in peer reviewed journals including 25 randomised controlled trials (RCTs); 10 non RCTs; and eight meta-analyses.

All eight of the meta analyses published since 2012 show a reduction in SSIs and all but the first show a statistically significant reduction in SSIs when they are used.


NICE 2008 Clinical Guidelines on Surgical Site Infection estimate the average cost of treating one SSI at £4,300.

Looking at cardiac procedures only in one large NHS hospital teaching trust, 830 procedures were carried out over a 12-month period with an average SSI rate of 6%. If this trust converted to Plus Sutures, the estimated efficiency savings generated would be around £116,670, applying a 30% relative risk reduction in SSI and assuming the cost to treat SSI as advised by NICE. Furthermore, 141 bed days associated to SSIs would also be released.

Preventing SSIs also offers significant patient benefit, including a reduction in their length of stay, the antibiotics needed for treatment and avoidance of disruption to their personal life.

Find out more

Chloe Symes, Wound Closure Platform Manager, UK or 07768852382

Please see Ethicon Plus Antibacterial Sutures flyer here.

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