June 1976

Sutureless Skin Closure-Reply

Arch Surg. 1976;111(6):724. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1976.01360240104022

In Reply.—I have reviewed with great interest The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus as transcribed by Breasted. The ancient Egyptians did use adhesive plaster made of strips of linen. These were applied, in pairs, "to the two lips of the gaping wound in order to cause that one join to the other."1 Wound closure therefore was effected by a sutureless technique.

Dr Jelenko is to be commended on his astute observations and keen knowledge of the surgical literature. We are indebted to the unknown surgeon who described a sutureless closure some 4,500 years ago, and we recognize his contribution.

Although his achievement has been largely forgotten, he might take solace from the words of Longfellow, who wrote

Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labour and to wait.2

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