When the time comes to close a wound, most surgeons reach for sutures out of habit and training. After all, sutures have been used for thousands of years to close laceration injuries and surgical incisions. The materials may have changed substantially during that time, but the basic concept of inserting a strand with a needle has remained mostly unchanged. As might be expected, of course, there are many different suturing techniques surgeons can utilize depending upon the situation.
Some suturing techniques are quite specialized, but others are so versatile that they become almost second nature to medical professionals. Simple interrupted sutures fall into the latter category because they can be used in multiple situations and wound locations.
What is a Simple Interrupted Suture
One of the primary risks of closing a wound with sutures is the possibility of the patient breaking a stitch. Whether the knots were tied improperly, an inappropriate suturing material was used, or the patient resumed activity too quickly, a broken stitch can potentially lead to wound dehiscence, which is when the wound edges pull apart and reopen the tissue layers. When a wound is closed with a continuous running suture, only a single suture strand is used across the length of the laceration. Should that strand break, the rest of the suture will lose its tension, greatly increasing the likelihood of wound dehiscence.
The simple interrupted suture provides some protection against this possibility. Rather than using a single strand to pull the wound edges closed, simple interrupted sutures consist of multiple stitches placed close together, which distributes tension more evenly across the length of the wound site and helps to keep the tissue edges from coming apart even if one suture breaks. The name for this technique comes from the fact that the individual stitches aren’t connected to one another.
When to Use a Simple Interrupted Suture
The short answer is almost any time! Simple interrupted sutures are among the most commonly used techniques in wound closure because they offer a number of advantages over a continuous running stitch. They are easier to place since they consist of only a single, shorter strand. Used together, they offer much higher tensile strength over a greater area. In the event of an infection or a broken stitch, individual sutures can easily be removed and replaced without compromising wound closure. This is especially valuable in the event of infection, which may require a portion of the wound to be cleaned or drained of fluid.
Disadvantages of Simple Interrupted Sutures
Unfortunately, some of those unique characteristics can also create complications. Each suture must be tied off with its own knot. If the knot is not tied correctly, it could cause damage to the surrounding tissue or lead to an infection. Since each suture must be carefully placed along the wound edges, closing a laceration with simple interrupted sutures can often be quite time-consuming. More importantly, if the wound edges are not properly aligned, significant scarring could result as the wound heals.
The suture itself only makes a single pass through the wound, unlike the technique used for vertical mattress sutures and horizontal mattress sutures. As a result, simple interrupted sutures are not as effective when it comes to closing deeper incisions that affect multiple tissue layers. Such wounds typically call for a form of subcuticular suture.
The Next Generation of Wound Closure
While simple interrupted sutures have a long track record of success, many surgeons and medical professionals have long desired a closure modality that’s faster, less invasive, and leads to better cosmetic outcomes.
That’s why we designed BandGrip Micro-Anchor Skin Closures. This revolutionary closure technology uses patented micro-anchors that grasp the skin along the wound edges and pulls an incision closed so that the natural healing process can take place. Minimally invasive and easy to apply and remove, BandGrip can be used by any medical professional to close a wound in less than 30 seconds. Designed in a convenient 3.5”x1.5” size, the bandages can be applied individually or tiled to close larger wounds. Although the micro-anchors grip the skin firmly, they don’t penetrate deeply enough to cause pain or create an additional infection risk.
Since BandGrip doesn’t require a needle, staples, or even scissors, it can help healthcare providers to avoid accidental sharps injuries in the operating room. This is no small benefit considering that suture needles represent the largest source of sharps injuries among physicians and nurses alike. In addition to helping avoid needlesticks, BandGrip also promotes improved healing outcomes for patients. The watertight bandage can withstand showering after 24 hours, and the smooth surface makes it far less likely to snare on fabrics like traditional suture knots. That combination allows patients to get up and around faster to start working toward their recovery from surgery, helping to avoid the negative impact of excessive bedrest.
See how BandGrip’s innovative micro-anchor technology works in our “How it Works” video and be sure to request a sample to get an up-close look.