Types Of Stitches Used To Close Wounds

The different types of stitches used to close wounds, whether the wounds were caused by accident, or tissue was cut during surgery, are outlined here. In medical parlance, the terms switches and sutures are sometimes used interchangeably, though stitches are really a type of suture, involving a thread-like material, as opposed to other types of sutures, staples, clips, or tissue adhesives.

Before the advent of modern medicine and modern surgical procedures, the thread used in surgical stitches was often cat gut, or a similar animal tissue, or any material that was convenient, and not considered harmful. Ordinary silk or cotton sewing thread was without a doubt commonly used to close a wound in the absence of any other material.

Among the more common types of stitches are those in which surgical catgut is used. Cat lovers need not be alarmed, as surgical catgut comes from the intestines of sheep, not from cats. Catgut is of course completely sterilized along with undergoing numerous other treatments before it is used on humans. Since catgut is readily absorbed in the human body, it is often the material of choice for those types of stitches required on deep tissue and internal organs.

The materials used in those types of stitches used to close surface wounds are most often non-absorbent. Silk is one of the more commonly used materials for stitches or sutures, as it is quite strong, inexpensive and not apt to be rejected by the body as being a foreign substance. The same can be said for cotton. Nylon is sometimes used for certain types of stitches It is of course quite strong and can be supplied in a variety of sizes, and both in mono filament and braided form. One of the disadvantages of nylon is that certain surgical knots can be difficult to tie or can become undone.

One of the pioneers in the development of certain types of stitches relating to surgery was an Englishman named Joseph Lister. If the name sounds a bit familiar, Lister promoted the practice of sterilizing suture or stitching threads before their use. His real claim to fame is reflected in the widespread used an antiseptic used in many households, Listerine. Listerine's main ingredient is carbolic acid, the substance Lister first used in his attempts to sterilize catgut.

Like fishing line and electrical wiring, the diameter or thickness of thread used in the different types of stitching varies considerably. The finest threads are a small fraction of a millimeter in diameter, while the largest, often used in conjunction with orthopedic healing, approach a millimeter in diameter, roughly corresponding to American Wire Gage 18.

The various types of stitches used in surgical procedures are not only influenced by the material, the diameter of the material, and the type of needle used, but also by how the stitching is cut and how it is secured, The most common stitch is likely the single interrupted stitch, in which the thread is cut after each individual stitch At times a stitch is continuous, which is simple to do, but risks unraveling should the thread break or separate, a situation interrupted stitching avoids. Types of stitches are designed not only to close wounds, but are also designed to minimize tissue tension and the possibility of scarring when used at skin's surface.

Most non- absorbent stitches, certainly surface stitches, are eventually removed, usually after several days. There is no single time set for the removal of stitches as our body heals differently in different places. Stitches in a facial wound can often be removed within 4 days, while those on an arm or leg may need to be kept in place for up to 2 weeks. As many former patients can attest, when one undergoes major surgery, it's always nice when the surgeon or another member of the team is an “excellent seamstress”.




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