How to Perfect the Art of Suturing
Suturing, like all other skills, demands a considerable amount of practice. When carried out incorrectly, the result is a serious, sometimes fatal infection. Other times an appalling scar is left behind.
For these reasons, medical students have to master the art of suturing to enable them to work skillfully with tissues and needles. After all, closing wounds is probably the most common affliction in the ER.
If you are a medical student keen on honing your stitching techniques, perfecting precision, as well as stitching techniques, you’re in luck. We have compiled ways you can learn to fine-tune your suturing skills.
1. Select the right equipment
Picking the right surgical sutures and needles cannot be stressed enough. You have to choose the right suture thread (polyglyconate, nylon, polyester, or other material) and needles. Much of this is determined by whether you want a deep tissue closure, less scarring, less wound tensile strength as well as the applied method.
For practice purposes, it's important that you use suturing equipment made for that purpose. For instance, you can use curved needles and a hemostat as opposed to leveraging standard sewing supplies.
Finally, don’t use a sewing needle for stitching practice. Instead, ensure that you use suturing materials made for that purpose such as a curved needle and a hemostat.
2. Gather the best dummies
Most medical students turn to fruits when looking for a base to practice their suturing skills on. Well, fruits actually can be the perfect base to practice on. Some of the most recommended fruits include green bananas, grapes, and peaches.
Peaches get recommended as they are a close imitation to pediatric skin. Green bananas on the other hand duplicate the skin’s toughness. Grapes help perfect stitching up thinner skin, such as when dealing with the elderly.
You can also work on meat pieces like chicken breasts to achieve a closer feel of stitching up muscle tissues.
The ARTAGIA MED suture practice pad is also a great place to start. The suture pad closely resembles real human tissue, and with the proper maintenance, you can use it all over again up to 100 times.
3. Practice with gloves on
Whether you are exercising at medical school or at home, always ensure that you wear gloves when practicing stitching. Switching from gloveless to glove-clad suturing is way harder than you may think. Besides, you are always going to be wearing them every time you suture, so you might as well get used to it early on.
You can start off with nitrile gloves which have no powder, in a bid to get accustomed to stitching with gloves on.
4. Turn to the best
Observe how the experts stitch their patients’ wounds. Be keen on the pre-stitching clean-up, the right angle, material, pressure, and grip, as these go a long way in establishing how effective a suture stitch will be.
Furthermore, you can request an expert to observe your methods and amend them if and when needed.
Suturing in the OR as a student is no doubt a privilege. It’s obvious that the residents are faster at suturing than you are. You’ll also have to get good and fast so that you can get the job done quickly when you become a resident.
As we have learned, suturing calls for lots of practice. You will most likely get the basics in the sim lab. However, if you want to get better at suturing, like pretty much everything else, you’ll have to practice on your own. With the above steps, you should be on your way to perfecting the basics while building speed.