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Investigation of the best suture pattern to close a stuffed Christmas turkey
  1. D. Verwilghen, DVM, MSc, PhD, DES, DiplECVS1,
  2. V. Busoni, DVM, PhD, DiplECVDI2,
  3. G. van Galen, DVM, MSc, DES, DiplECEIM1 and
  4. M. Wilke, DVM, DiplACVS/ECVS3
  1. Large Animal University Hospital, Swedish Faculty of Agriculture, Uppsala, Sweden
  2. Equine Clinic, Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals and Equids, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liege, Belgium
  3. Wittlingen, Germany
  1. E-mail for correspondence denis{at}

Instructions on how to debone and stuff a turkey are available, but what is the best way to close it up? A randomised trial involving 15 turkeys was performed in order to evaluate skin disruption scores and cosmetic outcomes following the use of different suture patterns. Turkeys were deboned, stuffed and cooked according to guidelines of the US Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Services. After stuffing, they were randomly assigned to one of five closure groups: simple continuous Lembert; simple continuous Cushing; simple continuous Utrecht; simple continuous; or staples. Turkeys were cooked at 180°C for two hours ensuring core temperature reached 75°C. Suture line integrity was evaluated after removal of the sutures and the cosmetic aspect was graded. Before cooking, the Utrecht pattern and skin staples offered the best cosmetic result. After removal of the sutures, the skin remained intact only in the stapled group. All other suture patterns disrupted the skin after removal of the sutures, rendering the turkey less cosmetically appealing for serving. Closure of a stuffed turkey was best performed using skin staples to achieve the best cosmetic results. Using this technique you will be able to impress family and friends at a Christmas dinner, and finally show them your surgical skills.

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