The constrictor knot is the best ligature

Taylor, H.; Grogono, A. W.
February 2014
Bulletin of The Royal College of Surgeons of England;Feb2014, Vol. 96 Issue 2, p101
INTRODUCTION An ideal ligature should tighten readily and remain tight. Ligature failure can be a critical complication of invasive procedures in human and veterinary surgical practice. Previous studies have tested various knots but not the constrictor knot. METHODS A new test bench was employed to compare six ligatures using four suture materials. As tension in a ligature is not readily measured, the study employed a surrogate measurement: the force required to slide a ligature along a rod. Benchmark values tested each suture material wrapped around the rod to establish the ratio between this force and the ligature tension for each material. Each ligature was tested first during tightening and then again afterwards. The benchmark ratios were employed to calculate the tensions to evaluate which ligature and which suture material retained tension best. RESULTS The model provided consistent linear relationships between the tension in the suture and the force required to pull the ligature along the rod. The constrictor knot retained tension in the ligature best (55-107% better than the next best ligature). Among the suture materials, polydioxanone had the greatest ability to retain the tension in a ligature and polyglactin the least. CONCLUSIONS The constrictor knot showed superior characteristics for use as a ligature, and should be introduced into teaching and clinical practice for human and veterinary surgery. The new test bench is recommended for future testing of ligatures as well as objective comparison of suture materials.


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