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Synonym

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Running looped mattress suture

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Video 5-11. Running locking horizontal mattress suture
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Application

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This is a modification of the running horizontal mattress suture, an everting technique used for closure and epidermal approximation. It is best used as a secondary layer when deeper sutures have been previously placed. This technique may be particularly useful in the context of atrophic skin, as the broader anchoring bites may help limit tissue tear-through. This locking variation confers two advantages over the traditional horizontal mattress suture: (1) better ease of suture removal, and (2) improved wound-edge apposition.

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Suture Material Choice

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With all techniques, it is best to use the thinnest suture possible in order to minimize the risk of track marks and foreign-body reactions. Suture choice will depend largely on anatomic location and the goal of suture placement.

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On the face, a 6-0 or 7-0 monofilament suture may be used, though fast-absorbing gut may be used on the eyelids and ears to obviate the need for suture removal; in these cases, standard running horizontal mattress sutures are probably preferable to their locking counterparts. When the goal of the running locking horizontal mattress suture placement is solely to encourage wound-edge eversion, fine-gauge suture material may be used on the extremities as well. Otherwise, 5-0 monofilament suture material may be used if there is minimal tension, and 4-0 monofilament suture is useful in areas under moderate tension where the goal of suture placement is relieving tension as well as epidermal approximation. In select high-tension areas, 3-0 monofilament suture may be utilized as well.

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Technique

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  1. The needle is inserted perpendicular to the epidermis, approximately one-half the radius of the needle distant to the wound edge. This will allow the needle to exit the wound on the contralateral side at an equal distance from the wound edge by simply following the curvature of the needle.

  2. With a fluid motion of the wrist, the needle is rotated through the dermis, taking the bite wider at the deep margin than at the surface, and the needle tip exits the skin on the contralateral side.

  3. The needle body is grasped with surgical forceps in the left hand and pulled upward with the surgical forceps as the body of the needle is released from the needle driver.

  4. The suture material is then tied off gently, with care being taken to minimize tension across the epidermis and avoid overly constricting the wound edges. Only the loose end of suture is trimmed.

  5. Moving proximally toward the surgeon, the needle is again inserted perpendicular to the epidermis, approximately one-half the radius of the needle distant to the wound edge.

  6. With a fluid motion of the wrist, the needle is rotated through the dermis, taking the bite wider at the deep margin than at ...

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