Absorbable surgical sutures that are dimensionally stable within the body may be prepared by the extrusion of polylactide polymer, including copolymers of L(-) lactide with up to 35 mole percent of glycolide. Said polymers are characterized by an inherent viscosity of at least 1.0, and the extruded filaments are oriented by drawing at a temperature of about 50.degree. to about 140.degree. at a draw ratio of up to 11x, and annealed. Sutures so prepared have a tensile strength of from 25,000 p.s.i. to 100,000 p.s.i.