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Endoscopic Suturing and Knot Tying: Theory Into Practice

Murphy, Donald L. FRACS

Advances In Surgical Technique

Objective To advance modern surgical techniques of endoscopic knot tying, encompassing a new appreciation of knot-tying theory and the application of second-generation, purpose-designed instruments.

Summary Background Data During open surgery, surgeons automatically create the surgical half-hitch by using either instrument or hand/finger knot-tying methods (figure 4). Each of these methods, which are mirror images of each other, forms the same result, the half-hitch. Two opposing half-hitches are needed to form a square knot. There are many ways for new-generation instruments to create a secure square knot during endoscopic surgery. An overview of the current endoscopic knot-tying methods is presented.

Figure 4

Figure 4

Methods The author presents a theoretical analysis of square knot-tying techniques as applied during instrument and hand/finger movements. The application of a mirror-image concept was considered in the analysis of these two contrasting methods.

Results There are 12 ways to create a square knot, some of which have previously not been described or needed in open surgery. Some of these methods have particular application in endoscopic surgery.

Conclusions A new understanding of knot-tying theory has been developed, with innovative methods being defined for tissue approximation during endoscopic surgery. These ergonomic, efficient, and contrasting methods of knot tying are described using second-generation endoscopic instruments. The new techniques have direct and broad application in many fields of minimally invasive surgery.

From the St. John of God Hospital, Geelong, Victoria, Australia

Correspondence: Donald L. Murphy, FRACS, 64 Sydney Parade, Geelong, Victoria, Australia 3220.


Accepted for publication February 22, 2001.

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.