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This SEM micrograph shows a surgical suture. A suture is basically a "stitch" created by a surgeon to repair tissue, or to hold implanted devices in place. The suture material is about 30 microns in diameter, and the overall knot is about 200 microns in diameter. Creating such a small knot requires a high degree of skill and dexterity on the part of a surgeon.

It can be seen that a biofilm is beginning to form in the crevices of the knot. At this magnification, it is not possible to determine the constituents of the biofilm on the structure.

The image below shows a closer magnification on the biomaterial encasing the suture. This more detailed micrograph yields insight into some of the constituents of the biomaterial forming on the suture.

Surgical Suture

Close up View of Suture

The large cylindrical structure on the left is the actual suture thread. There are indications of red blood cells, which look like somewhat deformed donuts. The red blood cells are slightly deformed, resulting from the sample preparation used in creating the micrograph. In addition to red blood cells, there are fibrous structures which are likely fibrin strands beginning a clotting process. The more spherical structures in the lower center region of the photograph look like they could possibly be some type of white blood cells. The upper center portion of the micrograph shows an indication of a bacterial biofilm forming. At this magnification, the individual bacterium are barely visible, but close examination of the photograph reveals a presence of a close packed array of spherical cocci type bacteria. In other regions of the photograph it is hard to distinguish between fibrin clotting agents and the adhesive matrix excreted by the bacteria.

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