An apparatus and method for providing reinforced surgical fastener suture lines to prevent tissue tearing and fluid leakage following the creation of an anastomosis, the closing of margins following the removal of diseased tissue, and/or the ligating and dividing of individual blood vessels. A retainer assembly is provided having an alignment frame and a pressure equalization member. The alignment frame includes an internally disposed receiving area for housing the pressure equalization member and a pair of guide channels disposed in fluid communication with the receiving area for guiding the jaw members of a surgical fastener applying device into contact with pledget material disposed within the receiving area. Any number of surgical fastener applying devices may be retrofitted to provide reinforced surgical fastener suture lines by applying an adhesive along the length of the pledget material, positioning the jaw members of a surgical fastener applying device within the guide channels, and closing the surgical fastener applying device such that the jaw members are brought into compressed contact with the adhesive-laden pledget material. The surgical fastener applying device may then be opened with the pledget material releasibly attached to the jaw members, the jaw members positioned about a section of body tissue, and the surgical fastener applying device fired to create a reinforced suture line boasting reduced tissue tearing and reduced fluid leakage.