Surgery: A Stitch to Save Nine

Suturing, which is the surgical task of sewing together what has been sliced apart, has long required the patient skill of a seamstress. The North American Indians used bone needles and sutures made of sinews. And even today, when surgery is marked by devices as dramatic as mechanical hearts, sewing and tying sutures by hand take up most of the time that a patient is on the operating table.

Moscow's Research Institute of Experimental Surgical Apparatus and Instruments went to work in the 1950s and devised 20-odd mechanical staplers to suture internal...

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