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Comparing vertical and horizontal mattress suturesFeatured science projectScience project video


This experiment was conducted to compare the strength of different mattress suturing techniques used to stitch open wounds.


Horizontal mattress sutures are able to withstand a higher tension than vertical mattress sutures.

Scientific Terms

Vertical mattress sutures, horizontal mattress sutures


Mattress sutures

Mattress sutures are techniques used to close an open wound using stitches. The purpose of using mattress sutures is to help close the wound, support the wound until it heals, minimize the bleeding and help prevent infection. The common techniques used for mattress sutures are horizontal, vertical and corner stitch methods.

Vertical mattress sutures are mainly used to avert skin edges. This technique helps to minimize the tension across an open wound and reduces dead space. It will normally have to be removed after 5 to 7 days in order to minimize the risk of scarring. The vertical stitch is normally applied to wounds located at the neck or concave skin surface where the edges of the wound will have a tendency to become inverted.

Horizontal mattress suture will help to distribute the tension along the edge of the wound. This method is used to pull the edges of the wound across a distance and hold them together. They will have a high risk of scarring if not removed after 7 days. The technique is used to hold the flaps of the skin in place and also for holding fragile skin together.

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 1 hour for the science project experiment
Material availability:
Easily found. May be purchased at a supermarket.
Safety concerns:

Handle knives and needles very carefully. Adult assistance is required.