A Stitch in Time: Basic Suturing Skills
Robert T. Smithing, MSN, NP

Microsoft Wordversion of
A Stitch in Time: Basic Suturing Skills


As a result of attending this session, the participant will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate the correct placement of a simple interrupted suture.
  2. Demonstrate the correct technique for tying suture.

Class Notes

Knowledge of sterile technique is a prerequisite for this class.

A companion handout entitled “Wound Management Core Information: Suturing and Biopsies” will be found in the conference handouts.

Wound Evaluation

Evaluate for potential damage to arteries, nerves and tendons before anesthesia and again during wound exploration. Document your findings! Remember, it's like a picnic.

Search for ANTs!

Arteries typically pump blood out.

Nerves are small white thread like fibers.

Tendons are silvery white in color and similar to what is seen in chicken, beef, and pig's feet. They generally move when the attached body part moves. If not... Repair of nerve and tendon damage is generally possible if done within 2 weeks of injury. Timing of the repair of tendon and nerve damage is subject to the preferences of your surgical consultant.

Wound Preparation

Trim hair

Pack Wound

Skin Preparation

Wound Irrigation

Simple Interrupted Suture

Photo available in the Microsoft Word version of this handout.


  • Simplest suture technique to do
  • Individual suture if needed without disrupting entire repair


  • May be time consuming to place many at one time


  • General wound closure
  • Building block of suturing. Many of the more complex suture patterns are built on this suture.

Skin Staples


  • Fast placement
  • Excellent wound edge eversion
  • Non-reactive material
  • Easy to remove


  • Requires special instruments for removal
  • May take 2 people to put in
  • Can't use in areas that will have CT or MRI studies done

Photo available in the Microsoft Word version of this handout.


  • Scalp wounds
  • Longer linear wounds
  • Children
Not clear if ok for use on hands or face

Additional Information

Please ask any questions you may have during the session. If unable to attend the session or if questions come up later you can contact the speaker at his office, which is listed below. You can also talk with him through out the conference.

Last updated:  October 23, 2002