There is a lot of different sutures and suture companies out their, of course with their own brand names, so it can get confusing.
Basicly, sutures come in absorbable, and non absorbable.
Absorbable suture is as it sound, is absorbed by the body.
In our hospital we use suture from Ethicon, so the names I use are their company names.
We use Vicryl, Chromic and Plain. The difference is how fast they go away, etc.
Non absorbable suture obviously does not go away. This would be for skin edges, vascular anastomosis, etc.
Examples would be PDS, Prolene, Silk and Nylon.
Sizes or diameter of the suture uses an "O" scale. A middle of the road size suture for general surgical cases would be 2-0 or 3-0. The smaller the suture the larger the number....4-0, 5-0, 6-0 gets smaller. For an eye case we'll often use 8-0,
9- or 10-0. Larger size sutures run the other way. 2-0, 0, 1, 2, 3, etc. The largest size we have is number 5, and you could tie up your boat with it!!!
The needles attached to the suture is another story.
Basicly the needle are curved or straight (Keith style).
They also have different "edges". If you looked straight at a curved needle, and it was perfectly round, this would be a taper needle, used for bowel and some wound closure for example. A cutting needle, has a bit more of a triangle look to it, and is used for tougher tissue, such as skin edges, ligaments, etc.
We've also got some needles that are blunt on the leading edge for things such as livers, that don't like sharp things being poked into them!:chuckle
There's a lot more detail on suture and suture needles out there, and this was my worth,,,,hope I didn't mislead you. I'm sure allnurses nation will help you out!