A number of design features are built into a surgical needle to meet different needs.



(1) diameter of needle

(2) end attachment for suture

(3) cross-sectional shape of distal body (to improve use with instruments)

(4) cross-sectional shape of proximal body

(5) point or tip


The greater the diameter of the needle, the greater its strength, but also the size of the hole. A large, irregular hole may seep fluid or result in a loose closure.


End attachment for suture:

(1) eyelet (traumatic)

(2) eyeless (embedded into hole at the end of the needle, atraumatic)


The distal body tends to have a flat surface to minimize rotation when held in a needle clamp.

Cross-Sectional Shape of Proximal Body


triangular, with sharp apex along inner surface of suture


triangular, with sharp apex along outer surface of suture

reverse cutting


round bodied




A cutting needle has a sharp edge to help cut through tough, resistant tissues (it can also be used to cut through a suture held taut). A reverse cutting can be useful in delicate areas when edges are close together; a regular cutting needle might cut right into the defect being closed, weakening the closure.


Point or tip:

(1) cutting point

(2) tapered point

(3) round point

(4) blunt

(5) specialty design (proprietary to a company)


A sharp point helps a needle penetrate tissue. A blunt tip reduces the risk of sharps injury.


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