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Surgical Insight: How to truss a stuffed turkey

Veterinary surgeons offer their insight to anyone who plans to cook a Christmas (or Thanksgiving or other) turkey. Details are in this new study: “Investigation of the best suture pattern to close a stuffed Christmas turkey,” D. Verwilghen, V. Busoni, G. van Galen, M. Wilke, vol. 169, no. 26, Veterinary Record, 2011 pp.  685-6.  The authors, at Large Animal University Hospital, Swedish Faculty of Agriculture in Uppsala, Sweden, and at the Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals and Equids, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liege in Belgium, and in Wittlingen, Germany, explain:

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….

The Utrecht pattern is probably the most popular method used for closing the uterus after caesarian section in cattle… This pattern creates good inversion with minimal exposure of the suture material… Nevertheless, extensive disruption of the skin occurred after removal of the sutures….

Overall, the skin staples performed best (Fig 2 [reproduced here])….

A potential drawback for the use of skin staples may be their indigestibility if one is forgotten in a served piece of turkey. Resorbable sutures, such as polyglactin 910, do not pose this problem as they will be digested along with the meat.

(Thanks to investigator Marc Silpa for bringing this to our attention.)

BONUS (HT investigator Kate Harding): Mitchell & Webb’s video about poultry surgery:

BONUS: Military experiments on fruitcake, in two parts

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