Code numbering is very important in the stock control and selection of sutures. There are many different types, and this can make the choice difficult. We believe that codes must be kept simple and should be easy to decipher.


  • The codes convey three pieces of information:

    A. The first letter(s) refer to the material.

    B. The next number(s) refer to the USP thread size.

    C. The final number(s) refer to the needle code.

* If #1 precedes the thread size, this indicates a larger thread length than the standard.For example, N-306 has a 45cm thread, where N-1306 has a 76cm thread.


  • Pre-cut Lengths:

Pre-cut lengths of sutures also have an easy to understand coding system. Please remember that the second letter of the code is equal to its numerical partner, i.e. A equals one strand; B equals two
strands; C equals three strands etc. The first number(s) indicate the USP thread size. The last two numbers represent the thread length in inches eg: SM4024 = Silk x 13 strands size USP 4/0 x 24 inches in length.

Once the coding is understood it is possible to use the code without the catalogue. In a teaching hospital it is good practice for staff to be able to explain what they are using and how they selected it.



The Symbol on the foil packet indicates the needle type (eg: = round bodied taper needle, = reverse cutting needle).



Double armed sutures have two symbols ( ) next to the needle profile, to note two needles are in the foil packet.