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Zipper stitch

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Video 4-13. Running buried vertical mattress suture
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This approach is best used in areas under mild to moderate tension, as it is a running technique that allows rapid placement of multiple buried suture throws. It may be utilized in a variety of anatomic locations, including the face, neck, and extremities. While it may be utilized on the trunk, interrupted buried vertical mattress sutures are generally more appropriate in this location.

Since it is a running technique, it may be associated with a higher risk of dehiscence, as interruption of the suture material in any point in its course would lead to loss of effectiveness of the entire suture line. Therefore, it is often used in concert with other sutures techniques rather than as a sole closure approach.

Suture Material Choice

Suture choice is dependent in large part on location. On the extremities, a 3-0 or 4-0 absorbable suture material may be used, and on the face and areas under minimal tension a 5-0 absorbable suture is adequate. While this approach should probably not be routinely utilized on the back, using a 2-0 or 3-0 absorbable suture in this area would be appropriate.

Braided suture material will allow for better locking of the suture in place, though it will also impede the surgeon’s ability to pull suture material through multiple loops, and therefore adequate suture material should be pulled through with each loop. Monofilament absorbable suture material will pull through more easily, though the lower coefficient of friction means that it will easily slide back through the wound and it will therefore not lock in place until tied.


  1. The wound edge is reflected back using surgical forceps or hooks. Adequate visualization of the underside of the dermis is required.

  2. While reflecting back the dermis, the suture needle is inserted at 90 degrees into the underside of the dermis 4 mm distant from the incised wound edge.

  3. The first bite is executed by following the needle initially at 90 degrees to the underside of the dermis and then, critically, changing direction by twisting the needle driver so that the needle exits in the incised wound edge. This allows the apex of the bite to remain in the papillary dermis while the needle exits in the incised wound edge at the level of the reticular dermis.

  4. Keeping the loose end of suture between the surgeon and the patient, the dermis on the side of the first bite is released. The tissue on the opposite edge is then reflected back in a similar fashion as on the first side.

  5. The second bite is executed by inserting the needle into the incised wound edge at the level of the reticular ...

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