Sutures: Can I use Vet/medical school practice ones to stock my first aid kit?

I’m having a difficult time buying sutures to stock my emergency med kit with.  The only ones I can find online at Amazon are for either medical students or Veterinary uses. Are these appropriate to rely on for my med kits? Thoughts?


  • Comments (4)

    • 5

      Nowhere in my training in FirstAid or Emergency Medical Technician (wilderness emphasis) was suturing ever recommended, nor have I ever seen or heard of it being done by anyone in the field.

      I recently underwent a hip replacement and the opening was permanently closed with an adhesive, no sutures.

    • 5


      Take a glance at above link from TP.com.

      Recommend stopping all acquisition of first aid supplies for now.

      The basic rule is a first aid kit is for oneself … family members … otherwise, formal training is needed and required to administer to others.  

      I’ve mentioned here at TP.com the acronym “COG”; Continuity of Government.  Laws and implimenting regulations must be followed. Of course exceptions exist and some major changes occurred about 4 years ago involving much of our country.

      FWIW; Before spending $ on expensive med supplies, comsider emphasis on foot powder, anti-blister bandages, sun block, anti-wind creams (think white petroleum USP) other O-T-C supplies. 

      There are many no-cost opportunities to learn basic level wilderness first aid.  Am still learning names here, .. someone mentioned joining a local SAR group.  Excellent source to learn this material and it will be focused to your area’s regulations’ compliance.

      I’ve “donated” much expired medical expendables to vet clinics and community college EMT programs.  This donated material came from our county trailer for emergency shelter’s “ALS” clinic. “ALS” = Advanced Life Support.  It requires an EMT to use.  At the basic level, we’re dealing with “BLS” – Basic Life Support.


      • 3

        I would feel much more comfortable using a butterfly bandage or a ZipStitch as shown in The Prepared’s article that Bob listed. 

    • 3

      Hi Ismuth!  The short answer is yes, those materials are probably fine assuming they are unopened and undamaged–suture material is honestly pretty standard.  It is also important to source the other tools (needle driver, tissue forceps, scissors, etc).

      As Bob mentioned, it is important to understand the context in which sutures are appropriate–not all wounds need to be sutured.  When you are not in a true, long-term, SHTF emergency, it is hard to justify the need to do it.  Our guide is a pretty good primer on the techniques and rationale for the different types of closures.

      Suturing is an advanced skill which is also perishable–if you don’t do it regularly it is definitely more difficult.  Even beyond the mechanical skill, different suture materials (and sizes), along with the appropriate needle, are needed for different applications.  You’d need to stock a wide variety which can become burdensome.

      That all being said, I still think that familiarity with the technique is valuable.  And it is most certainly better to learn and practice long before you would need to use it.  The above linked article lists a decent training kit to learn the basics which also includes the tools.