Surgical sutures: coincidence or experience?

K. -T. von Trotha*, J. Grommes, N. Butz, A. Lambertz, C. D. Klink, U. P. Neumann, M. Jacobs, M. Binneboesel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background Knotting sutures by hand is still important in daily surgical routine, especially laparotomy closure. The expectation is that hand suturing relies on the experience and subjective estimation of the surgeon. The aim of this study was to investigate whether hand suturing tension is reproducible and if surgical experience influences reproducibility.

Methods At the annual Congress of the German Association of Surgery, 118 surgeons performed repetitive sutures on a standardized and certified measuring device simulating the final knot of a fascial closure. Each surgeon was asked to perform five identical single knots in a row using the suture tension that each considered ideal. Tension during knotting was measured in Newtons. The surgeons were divided into five subgroups based on surgical experience: group 1, 30 years.

Results The tension measured at the end of knotting ranged from 0.19 to 10 N. The mean suture tension at end-point was 3.88 N for group 1 and slightly higher in the other groups, but not significantly different. The overall mean suture tension was 5.43 N and did not correlate with surgical experience. Suture tension was not reproducible.

Conclusion Sequential suture tension varied, even among experienced surgeons. The ideal tissue-dependent suture tension has not been defined. Measured values appear to be intuitive, relying on individual feeling rather than the level of experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-508
Number of pages4
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


  • Suture tension
  • Cutting reaction
  • Suture material
  • Polypropylene

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