Don’t expect to master the art of suturing with a simple group internship sim lab. For some medical professionals, it can take a few years of suture kit practice to understand the nuances of proficient wound closure.
You need to take the time to work on your suture skills at home—away from school or the clinic—if you want to become proficient.
Thankfully, suturing practice doesn’t have to break the bank. You can buy an inexpensive suture practice kit that has everything you need. In a pinch, you can even create your own practice board using items found around the house.
Read on for advice on how to get good at suturing in the comfort of your own home.
Sourcing the Tools and Equipment You Need
Suturing at home doesn’t have to be complicated. So long as you get together the necessary tools, equipment, and quiet space, you can practice every chance you get.
Source these essentials for your at-home suture kit:
- Needle driver
- Curved needles
- Surgical sutures (suture thread)
- Pickups or tweezers
- Suturing medium (more on that next)
Try to source legitimate equipment made for suturing wherever you can. If you practice with standard tweezers, sewing needles, and sewing thread, you won’t learn the necessary skills or understand the subtleties of the techniques.
The thread should be made of nylon, polyester, or polyglyconate. And don’t forget to always practice with gloves on. You’ll be required to wear these almost everywhere you work.
Are you on a tight budget? Ask your hospital or college if there are any half-used/already open sutures or other supplies you can take home to practice with. That won’t cost you a dime!
Common Suture Practice Mediums
Of course, you can’t practice suturing on real people—at least, not at first. And the medium you practice on can make all the difference to how quickly you progress in your technique.
Fake skin is one of the most commonly used suturing practice mediums in colleges and medical schools. It’s made of silicon and is soft and flexible, mimicking the tensile nature of human skin.
However, it doesn’t always behave like natural skin, which can mean students don’t learn the correct pressure to apply when stitching. If you plan on using fake skin for your at-home practice, buy the highest quality skin you can find.
Believe it or not, various fruits are considered perfect mediums for practicing suturing. The most commonly used fruits are bananas, oranges, grapes, and peaches.
These fruits are recommended due to how their skin and flesh react to the needle moving through them. For example, bananas offer a good approximation of the layers of human skin—the dermal-epidural junction. One of the best ways to practice suturing on older people, who typically have thin or delicate skin, is sewing fruit skin onto grapes.
Best of all, you can eat them once you’re done practicing!
Pieces of Meat
Once you’ve mastered your skills on fruit, it’s time to move on to something more closely resembling a human body. It’s time to head to the butcher and purchase some meat to practice on.
Chicken breast (with the skin on), pork belly, and pig’s feet are most often recommended by medical students and trainers alike. These meats more closely resemble the experience of piercing tough skin and suturing muscle tissue.
Look for cuts of meat with a flat work surface. Choosing cheap cuts is fine.
A Wooden Board
Before suturing any medium, you must master tieing surgical or square knots. Knots hold the sutures in place, stopping the wound from re-opening and introducing infection.
Knot tying practice is best done on a wooden board fitted with a soft rubber tube or soft cloth (like microfibre cloth).
Practice tying the knots with cheap thread or dental floss before moving on to suture thread. Focus on your throwing technique using a needle holder or clamp.
A Practice Suture Kit
Suture practice kits are an all-in-one solution for students and medical practitioners looking to become competent quickly.
These affordable kits have numerous benefits, including learning guides and high-quality, reusable tools and materials.
These kits contain everything you need to practice, meaning you can start improving your technique immediately. And you can tackle the task at your own pace, without the pressure you might feel in a sim lab or classroom.
Finding Suturing Teaching Resources
Once you’ve compiled your practice suture kits, it’s time to put them to good use and get practicing! There are all kinds of resources you can lean on when it comes to at-home suturing tutorials, including:
- Your educational institution
- Medical and suturing textbooks
- YouTube videos
- Online courses and workshops
A note on YouTube videos: not every video is a good guide for students.
Videos on YouTube aren’t regulated by a medical board or any other overseeing body. This means anyone can upload a suturing techniques video to YouTube.
Peruse the “about” section of the channel that made the video you’re interested in using to see if they’re legitimate, or ask your teacher for recommendations.
Why a Suture Practice Kit Is Essential for Medical Students
Becoming proficient at suturing takes dedication, time, and dexterity. The best approach is to invest in a quality, well-stocked suture practice kit and supplement your med school labs with online courses, textbook learning, and even YouTube videos.
Medical Creations is on a mission to provide students with the tools necessary to learn how to excel in the medical field. Are you training to become a doctor, nurse, paramedic, or medical assistant? Are you a medical course administrator at a university?
Then, check out our learning tools. We have everything from suture and phlebotomy practice kits to medical textbooks.