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The Importance of Layers in Suture Pads

layers in suture pads shown with names

The Importance of Layers in Suture Pads

Dental Point specializes in highly realistic, layered suture pads. For example, our 6-layer pad mimics the epidermis, dermis, subcutaneous, first fascia layer, muscle, and second fascia layer of a patient. This complexity allows for multi-layer closures, which simulate a variety of procedures. Such as deep wounds, superficial sutures for shallow closures, and subcuticular sutures for more delicate areas. Each of these procedures must be practiced and performed at different levels of tissue. In order to adequately simulate what this feels like on a live patient. Realistic suture pads that allow students to do this can improve suturing technique and confidence .


It is true that any practice is better than no practice, so many students and instructors find themselves relying on lower quality suture pads and materials. These often do not have any layers or that represent layers in superficial ways. While these pads may seem like a cost-effective option for practice, they tend to rip and shred rapidly with use. Their lack of realism and durability can also lead to the development of bad suturing habits. That must be re-learned once students take their suturing tasks to live patients.

 For example, some practice devices rely on different colours to represent each layer of skin rather than actual, tangible layers. This can help learners visualize the location of layers, but does very little to help them learn the tactile sensations of manoeuvring through those different layers. If a pad material does not have layers, it limits what instructors can demonstrate and what students can practice. 


Some suturing pads may strive to remedy the limitations of no layers by providing a limited number of layers. In some cases, this might be a thin covering of silicone set over a foam pad. Again, this is better than no layers, but having such a low-fidelity model can limit. Once students begin to work with patients, they need to know what it feels like to cut through epidermis, dermis, subcutaneous fat layer, fascia, and muscle in a variety of procedures. Unlike a foam practice pad, Dental Point 6-Layer suture pads can replicate these layers in a meaningful way. 

 Pigs’ feet and cadavers are often cited as preferred tools for use in suturing practice. Because they do have appropriate layers and, as such, are of higher fidelity than some suture pads. Dead tissue is often tougher and the tension within and across each layer is different than it is in live tissue . Students who practice with these may find that they need to do some re-training once they enter the workforce in order to fully grasp how live tissue should respond. 

 Having a strong grasp of how different layers of tissue should feel can also improve students’ incision techniques. Ideally, a live patient should not be a practitioner’s first experience making a real incision.


Using layered, high-fidelity suture pads for learning ensures that students’ practice translates well to real-life situations. Dental Point strives to develop suture pads that meet these standards. Our suture pads mimic every layer of tissue a practitioner might need to work with. The high-fidelity of the layers ensures that instructors can demonstrate any procedure. Or technique that will benefit their students as those students move into the role of practitioners. 

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