More than 310 million surgeries are performed each year, all of which require wound closure devices including sutures, staples, adhesives, sealants, clips and strips. The number of surgeries is expected to rise due to the increasing prevalence of disease, trauma cases, and the burden of age-related health problems. Many chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and age-related orthopaedic or cardiovascular health issues, will at some point require surgical intervention. Effective wound closure and healing maximise patient quality of life, minimise the risk of infection, and reduce hospital readmission rates.

According to GlobalData, the surgical sutures market is growing at 3.4% annually, and will be worth $4.5bn by 2033, up from $3bn in 2022. Growth is being driven by increasing surgical procedures and increased research and development (R&D) into suture materials and application methods to address limitations in healthcare resources and improve patient outcomes.

Sutures are an essential component of wound closure and healing and are used in procedures from open surgery to minimally invasive surgery. Many surgeries are trending towards minimally invasive procedures which involve smaller incisions, a lower risk of complications, and a faster recovery. This has not necessarily decreased the demand for sutures, and has resulted in a shift in suture development, with more sutures being absorbable, barbed, or knotless to increase their suitability. There is also potential for automated devices to increase the precision and efficiency of suture application, albeit at a higher cost. These devices cause less tissue damage than stapling devices, so are best used for delicate tissues or in complex surgeries. Automated devices can be disposable to minimise the risk of cross-contamination.

The risk of infection after surgical procedures is high, with around 1% to 5% of all surgeries developing a site infection. Other wound closure devices, including staples and sealants, are typically associated with a lower risk, but new manufacturing methods are producing sutures that also protect against this. Synthetic suture materials are designed to provide better tissue-holding capacity, leading to lower risk of infection and reduced scar tissue formation. Drug-eluting and bioactive sutures can also release compounds into nearby tissue to reduce inflammation, control bacterial growth, and promote healing while still fulfilling their mechanical requirements. This next generation of sutures is being specifically designed to match each application, improving patient outcomes, and ensuring safer surgical recovery.

Coupled with their cost-effectiveness and widespread availability, these technological advancements will ensure sutures remain important. As living standards in emerging markets continue to rise and a larger portion of the population demands better healthcare, the added market potential could also significantly expand medical device markets for essential yet inexpensive devices, like sutures.