Glove Tears During Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery Using Solid-Core Suture

Kevin M. Kaplan, Konrad I. Gruson, Chris T. Gorczynksi, Eric J. Strauss, Fred J. Kummer, Andrew S. Rokito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose: Surgeons have noticed an increased incidence of finger lacerations associated with arthroscopic knot tying with solid-core suture material. This study examines glove perforations and finger lacerations during arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Methods: We collected 400 surgical gloves from 50 consecutive arthroscopic shoulder repair procedures using No. 2 solid-core sutures. Two surgeons using double gloves were involved in every case, with one being responsible for tying all knots. Powder-free latex gloves were worn in all cases. Knots consisted of a sliding stitch of the surgeon's preference followed by 3 half-hitches via a knot-pusher instrument. All gloves were inspected grossly and then tested for tears with an electroconductivity meter. Results: The knot-tying surgeon had significantly more glove tears than the control (P < .01). Tears were localized to the radial side of the index finger of the glove at the distal interphalangeal joint in all cases. Of the tying surgeon's gloves, 68 (34%) were found to have tears. These included 17 inner gloves (17%) and 51 outer gloves (51%). If an inner glove was torn, the corresponding outer glove was torn in all cases. A mean of 3.96 knots were tied in each case. There was a significantly higher incidence of inner glove tears when more than 3 knots were tied (P < .03). There was no significant difference in glove tears between suture types. Finger lacerations did occur in the absence of glove tears. However, in the presence of an inner glove tear, there was a statistically significant association with a finger laceration at the corresponding level (P < .03). Conclusions: Intraoperative glove tears and subsequent finger lacerations occur with a high frequency when arthroscopic knots are tied with solid-core suture material. Risk can potentially be minimized by frequent glove changes or use of more durable, less penetrable gloves. Clinical Relevance: This study addresses surgeon and patient safety during arthroscopic shoulder surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-56
Number of pages6
JournalArthroscopy - Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Arthroscopic knot tying
  • Finger laceration
  • Glove perforation
  • Shoulder arthroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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