01/25/2008

Use of Blunt-Tip Suture Needles to Decrease Percutaneous Injuries to Surgical Personnel

The US-American Institute of Occuaptional Safety and Health has published a
Safety and Health Information Bulletin in order to


  • describe the hazard of sharp-tip suture needles as a source of percutaneous
    injuries to surgical personnel;
  • present evidence of the effectiveness of blunt-tip suture needles in
    decreasing percutaneous injuries to surgical personnel, particularly when used
    to suture muscle and fascia; and
  • emphasize OSHA's requirement and NIOSH's recommendation to use safer
    medical devices - in this case, blunt-tip suture needles - where clinically
    appropriate.


Sharp-tip suture needles are the leading source of percutaneous injuries to
surgical personnel, causing 51% to 77% of these incidents. Sharp-tip suture
needles not only injure surgical staff, but also present a risk to patients
from potential exposure to injured staff's blood. Suture needle injuries can
occur when surgical personnel:

  • Load or reposition the needle into the needle holder;
  • Pass the needle hand-to-hand between team members;
  • Sew toward the surgeon or assistant while the surgeon or assistant holds back
    other - tissue;
  • Tie the tissue with the needle still attached,
  • Leave the needle on the operative field,
  • Place needles in an over-filled sharps container; or
  • Place needles in a poorly located sharps container.

Suture needle injuries frequently occur during suturing of muscle and fascia.
In 2005, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) issued a statement supporting
universal adoption of blunt-tip suture needles for suturing fascia and
encouraging further investigation of their appropriate use in other surgical
applications. The ACS stated that "all published studies to date have
demonstrated that the use of blunt suture needles can substantially reduce or
eliminate needle-stick injuries from surgical needles." The Association of
Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN) endorsed this ACS statement in support
of blunt-tip suture needle use where effective and clinically appropriate. The
ACS and AORN are two of the seven member organizations of the Council on
Surgical and Perioperative Safety, all of which have endorsed this statement.
The other five member organizations are: the American Association of Nurse
Anesthetists, the American Association of Surgical Physician Assistants, the
American Society of Anesthesiologists, the American Society of PeriAnesthesia
Nurses, and the Association of Surgical Technologists.

More info


AplusA-online.de - Source: National Institute of Occuaptional Safety and Health