Technique: Rejoining Tissue

Tissues are rejoined after surgery to promote healing, stop bleeding, and prevent infection. There are various rejoining techniques and materials that can be used depending on the site and the type of tissue. Some materials are designed to dissolve as the tissues heal, and these are particularly useful for internal use. Materials that do not dissolve are used if healing is likely to take a long time or needs assessment before the stitches are removed.

Wire stitches

Stainless steel wire stitches are very strong and can be left inside the body. They are used for rejoining the bone in the sternum (breastbone) after heart surgery.

Simple interrupted stitches

Individual stitches are often used to rejoin muscle or skin layers. The join is particularly secure because if one stitch breaks or falls out, the rest remain intact.

Adhesive tape

Long strips of tape are used for small wounds. The tape holds the edges of the wound together without penetrating the skin.


Automatic stapling devices are used to join cut ends of intestine and the staples can be left inside the body. They are also used to join skin wounds because they cause minimal scarring.

Subcuticular stitches

A single uninterrupted stitch under the skin is very strong and causes minimal scarring, making this method ideal for wounds on the face.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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