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What Is an Interrupted Suture?

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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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An interrupted suture is a technique used to close open wounds. It is called an interrupted suture because the sutures are placed separately or independent of one another. The interrupted suture is the most common type of suture used by medical professionals because it leaves a thinner scar than other types of sutures.

This technique of closing wound is called interrupted suture because the stitches are not connected to each other. Instead, they are placed and tied off individually. This is a laborious process that is offset by the numerous benefits attached to the technique. While applying the interrupted suture technique, the surgeon uses a small-toothed forceps or skin hooks to grasp the edges of the skin together to enable him to place the stitches.

Forceps also come in handy to grasp the needle and pull it free as it emerges from the skin. After placing each stitch, the surgeon will secure it by tying it into a knot. He or she will repeat this process until the wound is completely closed. The location of the wound is a factor because the thickness of skin varies with the anatomical location. For instance, the skin on the back is thicker than facial skin. This helps the surgeon decide which suturing technique to use.

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Interrupted sutures secure the wound better than other methods of suturing, because if one strand breaks, the others will continue to hold the wound together. Also, there is no fear that the suture will unravel, unlike a continuous suture. Another advantage is that infection can be transmitted along the length of a continuous suture line, making interrupted sutures preferable for wounds where infection might be an issue.

The interrupted suture reduces tension along the length of the suture line. This tension might cause a continuous suture's stitches to pull. It also allows the surgeon to adjust the sutures while he or she is working by aligning the edges of the wound to mesh together more neatly.

Interrupted sutures also have certain disadvantages. The stitches take a longer time to place than other methods of suturing wounds. Interrupted sutures do not work as well on the more elastic parts of the skin, such as the eyelids and the neck. This is because it causes the skin in such parts to bunch together. Also, if interrupted sutures are left in the wound too long, they will form suture tracks that resemble train tracks when the sutures are eventually removed.

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