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The All-Purpose Towel Clamp: Old Toy, New Tasks!


Sarifakioglu, Nedim M.D.

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Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: March 2006 - Volume 117 - Issue 3 - p 1043
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Faithful readers of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery can find many innovative and practical surgical approaches in the Journal's “Letters and Viewpoints” section. My colleagues and I have contributed a few ourselves, regarding surgical clamps, surgical gloves, Kirschner wires, syringes, and other tools for various purposes.1 With so much publishing going on, it is difficult to follow all the rapid developments related to one's own research, and many similar ideas do emerge simultaneously in different institutions and even in different countries.

An example of this phenomenon is Koldas et al.'s2 report of using towel clamps to harvest fat during surgery and our report of a similar technique.3 Before publishing that report, my coauthors and I made a detailed literature search and found no mention of the method, so we felt it to be worth sharing.

We also use the method in our hospital as a manual version of vacuum-assisted closure for deep, infected abdominal, gluteal, or traumatic extremity wounds. The vacuum created by pulling the syringe plunger back and clamping it helps to maintain negative pressure and thereby removes excess fluid from the wound, to promote normal healing. This can be an inexpensive alternative to the electric vacuum pumps that are sometimes used for the same purpose, and a clinical study of this method is in progress at our hospital.

I am happy that these two similar reports appeared nearly simultaneously, because this suggests that the method is widely applicable.

Nedim Sarifakioglu, M.D.

Department of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgery, Alpaslan Turkes Caddesi, No. 57, Bestepe, Ankara 06510, Turkey, [email protected][email protected]


1.Sarifakioglu, N., Aslan, G., and Cigsar, B. Use of surgical gloves as drapes and hand holders. Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 112: 918, 2003.
2.Koldas, T., Onel, D., and Ozden, B. C. The use of a towel clamp as a complementary instrument for manual fat harvest. Ann. Plast. Surg. 52: 626, 2004.
3.Sarifakioglu, N. An interesting, smart, and useful device during removal of fat grafts in office-based conditions: Towel clamps. Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 114: 1973, 2004.

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Letters to the Editor and Viewpoints are welcome. Letters to the Editor discuss material recently published in the Journal. Letters will have the best chance of acceptance if they are received within 8 weeks of an article's publication. Letters to the Editor may be published with a response from the authors of the article being discussed. Discussions beyond the initial letter and response will not be published. Letters submitted pertaining to published Discussions of articles will not be printed. Letters to the Editor are not usually peer reviewed, but the Journal may invite replies from the authors of the original publication. All Letters and Viewpoints are published at the discretion of the Editor.

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