Retiring Our 5-Layer Suture Pad

our 6-layer suture pad does everything the 5-layer pad did

Rather than just removing one of our most popular products from the website, we wanted to explain why we’ve decided to discontinue our 5-layer suture pad and instead exclusively offer our 6-layer pad. The two suture practice skins are quite similar and both are extremely useful, but we’ve ultimately decided that it serves students better to practice on the 6-layer suture pad.

The 5-layer suture pad has been an excellent tool for practicing suture techniques. It allowed students to hone their surgical skills, practicing both buried sutures and superficial suture techniques. It was just as reusable, lifelike and accessible as our 6-layer pads. However, we found that there was some lingering confusion about the differences between the two pads, and students were sometimes using the 5-layer pad to practice techniques for which it was not intended.

Subcuticular sutures could be performed on the 5-layer pad, but they had to be placed extremely gently because the 5-layer pad was not designed for that type of practice. Effectively placing subcuticular sutures in the 5-layer pad required a degree of skill and a light touch that students learning the skills do not yet possess. To learn proper suture techniques without damaging the practice skin requires a suture pad to balance both realism and durability. While the 6-layer pad was specifically designed to allow for subcutaneous sutures, the 5-layer was not, meaning that students often tore through the layers instead of placing the stitches. 

That’s why we created the 6-layer suture pad – it does everything the 5-layer does, only it allows for subcuticular suture techniques to be practiced as well. Subcuticular suturing is an important skill for students to learn. Students learn this technique to help prevent scarring in sensitive areas. Sakka et al found that patients’ average satisfaction score with the cosmetic results of subcuticular sutures was 9.6/10 versus those who received transdermal sutures whose satisfaction was 8.68/10.1 Subcuticular suturing not only improves cosmetic outcomes for patients, but it also reduces the amount of postoperative nursing time patients require. 

In an effort to ensure students had the best training materials possible, we developed the 6-layer pad, which has separated and reinforced dermis and epidermis layers. Other suture pads on the market that claim to be appropriate for subcuticular techniques fail to provide the realism necessary for quality training. Subpar alternatives involve a thick layer of plastic over foam or a foam-like material that the students must forcefully dig into. This level of force is both unnecessary and dangerous when working on live tissue. Consequently, learning on unrealistic practice skin causes the development of bad habits and poor technique. We want to ensure that both students and patients have the best possible outcomes from their suture training. 

We’ve had a fantastic response to the 6-layer pad, and almost all of our partners who were using the 5-layer switched to the 6-layer as they became aware it was available. It’s an extremely useful tool, and we’re thrilled to be able to offer another high quality training material to students.

Because the 5-layer overlaps so much with the 6-layer while offering less access, we decided to discontinue it to streamline our products and prevent confusion. Starting on January 1st, 2021 SurgiReal will be retiring our 5-layer suture pad and exclusively offering the 6-layer suture pad.

  1. Sakka S A, Graham K, Abdulah  A: Skin closure in hip surgery: subcuticular versus transdermal. A prospective randomized study. Acta Orthop Belg. 1995;61(4):331-6.