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How to Suture

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You can learn to sew up gashes and wounds like a professional

Knowing how to suture a deep cut or gash in the absence of trained medical personnel could be a handy skill to know. While some cuts can be closed with a butterfly bandage, deep cuts require suturing to hold the wound together so it can heal correctly.

Most paramedics and some nurses have received training on how to close wounds using sutures. But in an emergency situation where professional medical care may be hours or even days away, knowing how to suture a wound may save someone from an infection or worse. This will be even more important in a post-TEOTWAWKI situation, where trained medical practitioners will be hard to find.

You can Learn How to Suture

If you know how to sew a seam with needle and thread then you have the basic knowledge and skill of how to suture wounds. The most difficult part of knowing how to suture is what size thread to use and how many sutures to put in.

Prior to closing any wound the injury must be looked at and cleaned. Wounds that are 12 hours old or less may be closed without much concern. Wounds that were received 12 hours before or longer before closing will require additional procedures to prevent infection and allow the wound to heal properly.

All wounds must be cleaned and all debris removed. The best way is to gently squirt saline into the wound, washing way dirt and contaminants. Then the edges of the wound must be straight and have no jagged edges. If more than 12 hours have passed, dried or ragged tissue may need to be removed to create smooth edges.

The majority of wounds people receive are closed with sutures ranging in size from 3 to 5. Deep wounds require sutures under the skin and will require dissolvable sutures. Non dissolvable sutures are used to close skin wounds and are generally ready to remove in 5 to 7 days.

A good surgical kit will contain instruments that can be sterilized. Alcohol will sterilize instruments as will boiling them in water. Once the instruments are sterile and the wound cleaned it is ready to be closed.

There are many different types of suture knots. Wounds that are near joints should be closed with a longer and stronger knot. Small wounds or wounds that are on the face need small delicate stitches. A suture chart showing the various knots should be kept inside your surgical kit for reference.

Trained medical personnel will know which suture to use where, but you may be someone’s only option in an emergency. Before that time comes, you can teach yourself how to suture by suturing wounds on a pigs foot. Pig skin is the closest in thickness and feel to human skin. Just remember though, that when suturing a wound on a live person, the skin will be warm. That can often be a shock if you’ve only ever worked on a cold pig’s foot.


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