A Sensible Suture Kit

    The laceration kit will need something to sterilize the wound, numb the surrounding tissue, and stitch up the cut. Hemostats
    help stem the bleeding.

    Commercially available laceration repair kits come in two basic groups: sterile single-use and non-sterile reusable. The former are less expensive with lower quality and fewer instruments; however, for the rare times that lacerations require suturing, they may be perfectly adequate. The kits do not come with a printed expiration date, but as long as the packaging is intact, the contents will stay sterile indefinitely. And yes, hold on to the instruments, because in a pinch they could be used again.

    Moore Medical (www.mooremedical.com) has a variety of single-use suturing kits, ranging from $6 to $13; these would meet most basic suturing needs on board. However, the kit includes needles and a syringe, so it requires a doctor’s prescription, and in all their kits, suture material has to be ordered separately.

    School Health (www.schoolhealth.com) sells a sterile, singleuse laceration tray that includes needles and syringes along with the suturing equipment for $15. According to their representative, a physician’s prescription is not required (unlike the Moore Medical kit); it also does not include sutures.

    The more expensive reusable laceration kits have the obvious problem of cleaning before and after use. As indicated elsewhere however, the goal in wound closure is promptness, in which case “clean” trumps “sterile.” One should be cautious, however, in using an instrument on more than one crew member without sterilization or at the least very, very thorough cleaning. Oasis makes a variety of these reusable kits, ranging in price from $45 to $70; these have everything you might need to close a wound, including sutures and surgical staplers. They can be found on eBay.

    Remember that none of the laceration repair kits available online or at your local medical supply house come with local anesthetic. That will require a physician’s prescription.

    VALUE GUIDE: Laceration Kit Contents

    SALINE IRRIGATION7 ounces18.5
    POVIDONE IODINE8 ounces114
    SUTURE KITReusable or disposable115
    STERISTRIPS0.5 x 4 inches1830
    BUTTERFLY STRIPS0.5 x 2 inches1210
    SUPER GLUE2 cc11.5
    NEEDLES18 and 27 gauge45
    SYRINGES5 cc44