I normally sit in the front of the lecture hall, but earlier this week on Tuesday, my friends and I moved to the back. Why? So we could leave as soon as class ends to rush upstairs to the rotunda to sign up for the AMSA Suturing workshop. We made it in time, but by the time we got there, 14 people had already lined up before us. The spots for the suturing workshop is limited (maybe around 40), and if you ever have the chance, I would sign up for it.
Although today is Saturday, it was definitely worth crawling out of bed this morning to go to the workshop. For the first time, I felt I was learning something very hands-on that directly applied to medicine (dissecting is hands-on too, but one would never dissect a living patient). The first hour was an introductory lecture taught by one of my favorite professors, the wonderfully funny and charming Dr. Nwosu, a general surgeon and professor of Anatomy. We had an hour of lecture, followed by 2.5 hours in the lab in which we learned the continuous, interrupted, subcuticular, and mattress suture. We each got our own cadaver leg to suture.
Suturing turned out to be not as easy as it looks. It took me a good 20 minutes just to figure out how to stick the needle on one side of the wound to come out from the other side. The needle is curved (2-O), and we used all kinds of threads: silk, nylon, absorbable, depending on the style of suture. Then there’s the knotting, and the handling of the needle and thread. There’s only so much I can learn from practicing for 2.5 hours, and my technique is still clumsy and slow, but I gotta say I think I performed some pretty nice sutures for my first time. My favorite is by far the subcuticular suture, in which all the knots and suturing is done subcutaneously with an absorbable thread, hiding the suture, and leaving minimal scarring, if any.
Later in this semester, there will be an advanced suturing workshop in which we’ll learn how to suture tendons and internal organs. I’ll be sure to sit even further at the back of the classroom this time!