Proper Suturing Techniques
The practice of suturing is centuries old and incredibly important for correct healing. It seems like such a simple, common procedure that its proper practice is often overlooked. Let’s review some of the reasons proper suturing is so important for you, your practice, and the healthy recovery of your patients.
Minimize Risk of Infection
Your suturing technique and materials will go a long way in determining whether your patient experiences a post-surgical wound infection, but several factors will depend on the patient.
For example, suturing an elderly or obese patient requires extra care and consideration because the tone and elasticity could impair circulation and proper approximation of the skin.
InfectionControlToday lists proper nutrition and hydration as important factors as well. A lack of these things reduces oxygenation of the blood, slowing recovery time. Additionally, a patient with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or a weak immune system is bound to experience slower healing times or an infection. Consider all of these options carefully before you decide on a suturing technique!
Different Stitching Styles for Different Wounds
Not all wounds are alike, and thus not all techniques for suturing are alike. Is the wound mostly superficial with very little tension? An interrupted suture is the most popular and simple of procedures in this case. Once you start factoring in deeper wounds with several layers of skin and higher tension, the process becomes more complex.
TotalSkinandBeauty recommends techniques like vertical mattress, horizontal mattress, layered closure, running suture, and so on for more complex wounds or wounds in delicate areas that experience lots of movement or friction.
Sometimes there won’t be much you can do to prevent scarring if the wound in question is large, asymmetrical, and severe. Still, there are some techniques that can help reduce lasting scarring. In general, a scar’s appearance has more to do with the layers below the surface than the surface itself.
AYoungYou mentions techniques that properly close the deep tissue layers will reduce tension on the skin overall, leaving less open space beneath the surface that needs to be rebuilt with scar tissue. This helps provide a clean, minimal appearance for surface scarring. Additionally, leaving sutures in too long will cause their entry and exit points to leave dotted scars. Consider the severity of the wound when determining how long your patient’s sutures should remain in place.
Understanding the importance of proper suturing techniques will not only help make your practice a go-to for patients, but it will leave your patients with sutures that heal properly, reduce infection, and look as clean as possible. Consider NPI’s
Basic Suturing CME course to learn more about suturing techniques and skills or Advance Suturing and Wound Repair for more complex wounds.