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Experts call for urgent action to address surgical site infections

Ethicon has joined leading wound closure specialists to discuss recommendations to ease the burden of surgical site infections (SSIs) on patients and costs to healthcare systems across Europe, Middle East and Africa.

SSIs can be a serious complication of surgery, and are becoming the most common healthcare-associated infections, increasing morbidity and mortality rates among affected patients.1,2 The meeting was held at the fourth International Consortium for Prevention & Infection Control (ICPIC) conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

Speaking at the event, Professor Leaper, Professor of Clinical Sciences at the University of Huddersfield commented: “There are many reasons why we must act urgently to limit the incidence of surgical site infections. Not only do they have a significant impact on patients in terms of delayed wound healing, increased need for further surgery and longer hospital stays, but prescribing antibiotics to combat surgical site infections contributes to the growing problem of anti-microbial resistance”.3,4

Health authorities across the world recognise the severity of the SSI issue, which can affect up to 20% of patients undergoing surgery.5 In 2016, the World Health Organization issued global guidelines on SSI prevention in which they suggest the use of triclosan-coated sutures in all types of surgery to reduce the incidence of SSI.6 These recommendations have received further support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,7 and the American College of Surgeons/Surgical Infection Society.8 Most recently, EUnetHTA, a network, established to create an effective and sustainable network for health technology assessment (HTA) across Europe, issued an assessment on antibacterial-coated sutures which found a statistically significant benefit of triclosan-coated sutures in reducing the risk of total SSIs.9

Ethicon, makers of Plus Sutures, the only triclosan-coated sutures available globally that inhibit colonisation of the suture by bacteria commonly associated with SSIs,10-13 is committed to mitigating the burden of SSIs. “We want to see surgical site infections drastically reduced to relieve unnecessary suffering and reduce the associated costs for healthcare systems,” said Silvia De Dominicis, Ethicon Franchise Vice President for EMEA. “We believe that all possible measures must be taken to help patients avoid SSIs and we are dedicated to partnering with the healthcare community to raise awareness, review the latest advancements and implement tactics to address this critical issue.”

Ethicon offers a comprehensive range of triclosan-coated, absorbable sutures both in knotless and traditional variations. These have been proven in vitro to inhibit colonisation of the suture by bacteria associated with SSIs.10-13


  1. Agodi A, et al. Risk of surgical site infection in older patients in a cohort survey: targets for quality improvements in antibiotic prophylaxis. Int Surg 2015;100:473–9.
  2. Crolla RM, et al. Reduction of surgical site infections after implementation of a bundle of care. PLoS ONE 2012;7:e44599.
  3. Harrop JS, et al. Contributing factors to surgical site infections. J Am Acad Orthop Surg 2012;20:94–101.
  4. Ventola CL. The antibiotic resistance crisis: part 1: causes and threats. PT 2015;40:277–83.
  5. Leaper DJ, et al. Surgical site infection – a European perspective of incidence and economic burden. Int Wound J 2004;1:247–73.
  6. World Health Organization Global Guidelines for the Prevention of Surgical Site Infection. Available at Accessed June 2017
  7. CDC Infection Prevention & Control Guidelines & Recommendations. Available at Accessed June 2017
  8. Ban KA, et al. American College of Surgeons and Surgical Infection Society: Surgical Site Infection Guidelines, 2016 Update. J Am Coll Surg 2017;224:59–74.
  9. EUnetHTA Antibacterial-coated Sutures Versus Non-Antibacterial-Coated Sutures for the Prevention of Abdominal, Superficial and Deep Incisional. Available at…. Accessed June 2017
  10. Storch ML, Rothenburger SJ, Jacinto G. Experimental efficacy study of Coated VICRYLTM Plus Antibacterial Suture in guinea pigs challenged with Staphylococcus aureus. Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2004;5(3):281-288.
  11. Rothenburger S, Spangler D, Bhende S, Burkely D. In vitro antibacterial evaluation of Coated VICRYLTM Plus Antibacterial Suture (coated polyglactin 910 with triclosan) using zone of inhibition assays. Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2002;3(Suppl 1):S79-S87.
  12. Ming X, Rothenburger S, Yang D. In vitro antibacterial efficacy of MONOCRYLTM Plus Antibacterial Suture (poliglecaprone 25 with triclosan). Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2007;8(2):201-207.
  13. Ming X, Rothenburger S, Nichols M. In vivo and in vitro antibacterial efficacy of PDSTM Plus (polidioxanone with triclosan) Suture. Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2008;9(4):451-457.