On July 11, 1985, Dr. H. Harlan Stone, head of general surgery at the University of Maryland Hospital at Baltimore, announced that he had used zippers for stitches on 28 patients in order to re-operate more easily.

Um…  to begin with, I didn’t even know they could use zippers instead of stitches.  I know there are various kinds of stitches and types of silk…  but zippers…  really???

At first glance, this sounds funny, but the more research I did, the more serious this got.

Pancreatitis is a fairly common condition for diabetics and when severe, requires surgery to remove inflamed or abscessed parts of the pancreas.  This produces internal bleeding, so packs of gauze are inserted to stem the blood flow.  The packs must be changed daily for the first four or five days and every other day for the next five, requiring patients to face repeated operations in which their wounds are reopened and resewn.

He didn’t even use a special kind of zipper – but a common plastic zipper from the five-and-dime!

Doctor Stone was introduced to this technique during a 1978 medical meeting in Holland.  He watched a Dutch doctor sew a zipper to the tough membrane under the skin.  Conventional surgery to change the gauze pack took an hour or more each time.  Even though the patient still has anesthesia, the surgery is over in five minutes – zip-zip!  Just a dressing is needed to protect the wound and sterilized zipper.  When the pack-changing period is over, the zipper is removed and a permanent suture is substituted.

What color zipper does Doctor Stone use?  He admits that any color will do, but feels that he ought to have proper hospital white.

This makes me thankful for The Great Physician!  He is not invasive but helps us heal wholly and completely – mind, body, spirit! 


Once The Great Physician performs surgery, there’s never a need for a re-operation.  🙂