The objectives of managing a wound by suturing it are obvious and simple, and that is to avoid infection from taking root in the wound, help in stopping bleeding through the wound, and to provide a visually pleasing scar as opposed to a grotesque mass of tissue.
Many case studies now focus on the aesthetic nature of the actual healing process of a wound, rather than the probability of infection, because generally the rate of infection is low regardless of the technique used.
Although the basic techniques and principles related to tissue repair haven’t changed all that much in the last century, various options are available to make the overall operation a therapeutic experience.
With the extensive study done in this field, medical practitioners have now developed topical anesthetics, tissue adhesives, and fast absorbing suturing material highly responsible for ensuring little to no amount of trauma for the patient.
The use of sedation during the procedure, especially for difficult cuts, or for an anxious patient, has made this easy to tolerate for the family, the physician, and the patient involved.
A Well-Equipped Suturing Kit Is Important
It’s paramount to have the best quality instruments, which are the exact size as compared to the location and nature of the wounds that are being closed. The risk of infection is further decreased if the wound is handled carefully, and the instruments sterilized in the correct manner.
A basic suturing kit includes the following:
- A needle holder
- Toothed forceps, with a hook to handle tissue
- Fine suturing scissors
- The appropriate suturing material
It’s very important to consider the suturing material that is used when performing the operation. In turn, choosing the right suturing material is made easy by considering the location and tension of the wound. Other equally important factors to consider about are the tensile and knot strength, handling of the wound, and tissue reactivity.
Suture materials are generally of the following two types:
- Absorbable – This type of material is generally used for buried sutures, that don’t require removal as they lose their tensile strength in less than 2 months and thus are highly absorbable.
- Non-absorbable – This type of material contains majority of tensile strength even after 2 months, hence are non-absorbable and therefore used to close wounds on the skin’s surface and requires removal.
The needles used for suturing are made exclusively for such a purpose, and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes for a specific wound. Curved needles for example, are only used on dermatological surgery.
Needles are divided into two basic types:
- Cutting Needles – As their name suggests, these triangular cross-sectioned needles cut away at the tissue they are placed against. Less force is therefore required to pass the needle but it can leave small puncture wounds in place. They are generally preferred for suturing of the skin’s surface.
- Non-cutting Needles – These are more rounded in the cross section, and are used to push tissue aside and to close it around the suture. More force is used to operate as compared to cutting needles, and is therefore used for organ repair and subcutaneous closure.