What are advantages and disadvantages of a simple running suture technique?

Updated: Mar 05, 2020
  • Author: Desiree Ratner, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Running sutures are useful for long wounds in which wound tension has been minimized with properly placed deep sutures and in which approximation of the wound edges is good. This type of suture may also be used to secure a split- or full-thickness skin graft. Theoretically, less scarring occurs with running sutures than with interrupted sutures because fewer knots are made with simple running sutures; however, the number of needle insertions remains the same. Both basting sutures and tie-over bolsters have been used to help secure skin grafts. [4] In one study, no statistically significant differences in wound cosmesis or complications were noted between running cuticular sutures spaced 2 versus 5 mm apart, suggesting that the extra time involved in placing very closely spaced sutures may not be worthwhile, [5] although the personal preference of the surgeon ultimately dictates the distance he or she chooses to place between sutures.

Advantages of the simple running suture over simple interrupted sutures include quicker placement and more rapid reapproximation of wound edges. Disadvantages include possible crosshatching, the risk of dehiscence if the suture material ruptures, difficulty in making fine adjustments along the suture line, and puckering of the suture line when the stitches are placed in thin skin.

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