In today’s world, we are literally constantly being cut open, either accidentally or with a purpose. Despite the manner in which it happened, wounds, or lacerations, must be closed. We do this by using sutures, also known as stitches, and/or suture alternatives.
The ability to close a wound is an important skill learned by those in the medical field. Whether the opening was made by a scalpel in the operating room or by a fall in the street, the decision as to how to close the skin needs to be individualized for each patient and situation. The skin has many layers, all together which provide a barrier to the outside world and the dangers of infection, environmental hazards and chemicals, and temperature, hence why a severe opening in the skin may cause for immediate action.
Different options exist for repairing lacerated skin and providing a favorable outcome for both patient and physician. However, there are two very important steps that need to happen before the skin is closed: Exploration and Cleaning. Wounds, mainly those that happened outside of the operating room, need to be examined and explored to their full depth, to look for dirt and debris that may have entered and to make sure that any anatomic structures (ex. tendons and blood vessels) under or around the laceration were not damaged. A cut blood vessel may cause for hemorrhage while dirt inside the wound might call for an infection. The wound is very well examined and cleaned thoroughly. Sometimes, a small amount of dirty tissue needs to be cut out, this process is called debridement. These first steps are critical but will lead to a great results.
Before getting to actually close the wound, a type of suture as well as the needle to go along is chosen. There are many different types of suture materials, grouped mainly into absorbable or non-absorbable. There are also different strengths and thicknesses to the suture. The strength of the suture depends upon the thickness of the suture material....