How To Tie A Surgical Knot

Handy knowledge, if not unpleasant to think about.

I count myself among the lucky few who have never needed any kind of emergency surgery. I’ve never needed stitches or anything like that, and if I have any say it in, it’s going to stay that way for the rest of my life. However, being related to a doctor, certain first aid skills do come up now and then in conversation (don’t ask me how), and while they’re not particularly fun to think about, it is important to know them. One such skill is the surgical knot.

See, when a surgeon is putting stitches and sutures into a patient, they can’t just tie it the same way you tie your shoes. Shoelaces come undone all the time, after all, so if you tied a suture like that, then your patient’s on the fast track to internal bleeding. For this reason, the surgical knot is commonly employed when a patient has a hole that needs prompt closing. The knot is crafted in such a way that it forms a tight braid when it’s finished. If you did it with a rope, it’d be clearer, but with something as fine as surgical stitching, it almost looks like a single straight line.

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