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There is nothing that compares to real the real thing when it comes to suturing. Unfortunately, most medical students have limited access to real patients during their studies.
Because of this, I highly recommend getting a suture practice kit. It contains everything you need to get started, including a silicone suture pad with different wound shapes.
There are many options out there, and most are very similar. I consider the suture kit from ARTAGIA Med to be the best option (click to see it on Amazon). It includes everything you need to get started for a fair price.
What do you need
There are 5 essential items you need to get started. Suture material, a needle holder, forceps, scissors and something to suture. Modern suture materials are pre-packed and ready to use. There is no need to thread the needle as it is already attached.
The suture kit I recommend above includes all of these items. In addition to a scalpel, which is handy when it comes to removing the sutures.
Do you need all these tools? yes, do you need the kit? No. You could get away with buying a simple suture tool kit like this one from matrix wizard (click to check it out on Amazon). If you choose to buy the tools only you have to find an alternative practice material. A few suggestions include
- Chicken breasts (preferably those with the skin on)
- Pig feet (can be obtained from a butcher)
How to get started
If you know the basics and have all the equipment mentioned above, you can get started right away. If you need some help to get started, I highly recommend the video tutorial below from Duke University Hospital.
In this tutorial, you are shown everything from basic knot tying to more complex suture techniques like the subcutaneous running suture. All included in a compact 20-minute video with Dr. Micheal Zenn.
How is the quality and how long will it last
The obvious answer is that it depends. A useful tip is that most practice pads, such as the one included in my recommendation above, is best suited for simple suture techniques.
Deeper and more advanced types of sutures increase the risk of ripping the silicone pad material. Therefore, the more experienced students who want to practice more advanced techniques might be underwhelmed
That being said, if you are just getting started, it can be a great option which can last all through your med school practice. Better yet, even if the pad eventually breaks, you still have a high-quality suture kit to practice with on other materials.