Saturday, February 25, 2012

Apprentice Doctor - How to Stitch Up Wounds - Overview

Whenever I'm asked what I want to specialize in someday, I answer with what most premeds probably answer - I don't know yet. However, I usually follow this up with something akin to, "but I'm really interested in surgery of some sort, or emergency medicine..." To that end, I recently followed the advice of a highly esteemed blogging colleague and purchased The Apprentice Doctor's "How to Stitch Up Wounds" kit pictured above. It came with a bunch of stuff (see below), and I'm looking forward to digging in. I'm currently gearing up to study, and I thought I'd put up a quick post as I drink coffee and wait for the caffeine to do its thing...

Lots of different stitches to learn. I always wondered how they stitched beneath the surface... 
Complete kit. See below for the breakdown.

Shown here (left to right) are two skin hooks, small pointed scissors, medium/blunt scissors,  needle holder, scalpel,  sharp probe, blunt probe, small forceps, and tissue forceps.

This is the "fake skin." I'm a bit doubtful about exactly how similar this is to human skin, so I will probably heed the advice of many and buy some pig's feet and bananas to practice on. That's right - pig's feet are supposedly the closest you can get to human skin without snagging a felony going for the real thing.

Not sure when you would use one over the other (maybe catgut dissolves better than nylon for internal stitches?) but I'm sure that's something I'll learn with the included software course.

Top to bottom (as though that's necessary...) surgical marking pen, ruler, colored string (for practicing knots?).

Here's the back panel, it basically shows everything I showed up above, but with a bit less detail. I got the gloves and thread too, but considered them insufficiently remarkable to get their own picture.

Not sure when I will get around to actually going through this - probably not until after next weekend, as I have a number of things occupying my time at the moment. Foremost are my Biochem quiz and exam scheduled for Monday and a week from Monday, respectively. Secondary to those, I am working on an online digital study resource for premed and med students. The goal is to offer all of my digital notecards that I used in preparing for the MCAT and various premed courses available for future students. It's a work in progress, but I've gotten a number of requests from students searching for affordable study resources, and I think it could help a lot of people out.


Anonymous said...

The two color string is to help you keep left and right straight and is good so you can see that your making square knots. Pigs feet are super close to human skin. Nylon string does not absorb while chromic does. learning to tie two handed and one handed will be super important along with instrument ties. learn to sterile glove if you really want a leg up, though you need to be careful with the gloves because you may have a latex allergy (that could be why your mouth itches when you eat bananas)

Allison said...

That's great that you're going to post your MCAT notecards! Now I'm really hoping you'll go to my med school so I could know someone else who's into notecards! Haha.

That stitching kit looks great too. Let me know how you like it when you have time to start it. I think Anon above has a great point about learning how to do one-handed ties. I've heard that from multiple people.

Justin said...

Thanks Anon! That's good to know about the colored string, as well as the difference between nylon and chromic string. Luckily, my wife has already shown me how to sterile glove, as she just went through that for nursing. Also, I am pretty sure I don't have a latex allergy; I think I remember learning that it has to do with chitin, as my mouth also itches with walnuts and pistachios, both of which also have chitin in them. Also, thanks for the advice on one-handed ties; I wouldn't have thought about that.

@Allison - Thanks! I might end up having to charge some money for the cards, as it's taking a lot of work, and the online hosting sites will charge me per download to distribute the cards. With this volume, it's understandable; when I've got everything together, I'll have more than 3500 cards just for the MCAT and premed review combined. Of course, that's after I go back through and make sure that I don't have any copyrighted diagrams or images in the cards... Going to be quite a bit of work, but I'm pretty sure it will be worth it.

Susan said...

Pretty interesting kit! If I ever need a stitch for a cut I will be sure to come on over to you. You can practice on me; I have full confidence in you! But will wait til after you've opened the packages and learned to use the needle at least :)

medaholic said...

Just checking out your blog for the first time, awesome posts. Great to see you're already so enthusiastic about suturing! I didn't really get into it until my clinical years, and now that I didn't apply to any surgical residencies, I hope I don't lost my skills... that quickly.

Justin said...

@Susan - yeah it would definitely be best to wait, haha. I've a long wait to go yet...

@Medaholic - Thanks for reading. I checked your blog out - great stuff! Good luck with the match!

Addison said...

Congrats on getting a kit. Its always fun to start learning how to do something. I learned how to tie instrument ties first. They are the easiest to learn and will be used most often by students. Learn how to do "one handed" and "two handed" as well. Then you can take a piece of fishing line and tie it to the button hole on your white coat and practice tying. Thousands upon thousands of throws. That way when you finally need it and your super nervous and the pressure is on; muscle memory kicks it and your fine. fishing line is similar enough to get a good feel. Once you actually get on rotations and are in the OR, ask the scrub tech at the end of surgery if they have any open sutures left. they cant reuse them on another case because they are open and you can get some good practice. also, check for expired sutures from any offices or hospitals. they cant use them and they are great practice. good luck dude!

Sam P. said...

Loving the new background. :)

If anybody can figure out a great way to provide affordable MCAT prep it's bound to be you my friend.

Your enthusiasm never ceases to amaze me, and your ambition to play with pigs feet makes me think you'll be doing that at your desk job. (At least your employer's title brings such thoughts...)

Keep up the good work.

Albinoblackbear said...

:) Wow, that was fast! I think for the money it is a pretty great kit. Nice post. (Thanks for the props!)

I got the kit 2 years ago and still use it a lot. In fact I have the toilet paper roll taped to my desk and throw knots while watching vids. Muscle memory is the business when a cranky scrub nurse and impatient anesthetist are breathing down your neck! hahah

Have fun!

The Tags

accomplishment (2) AMCAS (1) anniversary (5) application (17) awesome (23) backpacking (8) bike (8) Biochemistry (13) Birthday (1) books (2) Break (46) bummer (2) camping (5) Christmas (4) crazy (30) Curiosity (10) doctor (7) Emergency Medicine (7) exams (37) Fail (4) fun (56) funny (22) Gear (8) God (2) Grand Rapids (2) grey hair (1) Honeymoon (2) Interview (8) iPad (2) Jintus Study (11) MCAT (14) med school (55) Mental Case (1) Motivation (4) Moving (4) MSU CHM (70) music (1) Naiya (22) Nerves (2) News (3) Nicole (40) Notes Plus (1) personal statement (5) Philosophy (1) photos (34) premed (4) random (25) Resources (9) Review (13) Running (6) Scary (2) Schedule (5) Science (1) Shadowing (6) sick (8) Specialty (4) stress (13) Studying (44) surgery (4) Tech (2) Tired (3) Travel (14) Travis (5) volunteering (3) Wife (26)