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Stay sutures keep ears in perfect position.
To keep an ear stationary after aural hematoma surgery, I place two stay sutures. First, I pull a suture completely through the pinna from the inner surface to the outer. Next, I take a bite of skin on the head above the ear and come back through the pinna from the outer surface to the inner and tie the suture. I then repeat the process. Thus, two simple stay sutures are placed. I leave the tails long to easily identify them when I remove the sutures a week later.
This technique places the ear in a position that makes administering medication easier and keeps the ear from being further traumatized when the patient shakes its head. In addition, I typically place an Elizabethan collar to prevent the patient from scratching or pawing and causing further damage.
Dr. A. Brent Chance
Pleasant Hill, Mo.