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Surgeon Seeks Improved Patient Satisfaction One Knot at a Time

Max Silk, general surgeon at Indianapolis Venture Hospital hopes his patient satisfaction scores improve. But you may be surprised by his idea to raise the scores. Dr. Silk has created a patent pending Smile Knot.

"I first thought of the idea when I was sitting in my backyard by the pool. I know people always say it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. I figured that a smile might work well with surgical sutures. There might be less tension and less stress on a tied knot, if the knot is in the form of a smile.”

Dr. Silk continues, “For many of us, smiling is easy. But making a knot in the form of a smile is crazy tough. After many difficult attempts, we made a knot that looked like a frown. Then we improved it until we got a smirk. It took 5 years of working with different suture materials to create a stable knot that has a lasting smile. If you lose the smile, that means the knot became untied.”

There’s not only fun behind the idea of making a Smile Knot. Lots of science goes into the knot. According to David Henry Stitch, mechanical engineer at Stockton Yarn University, “A Smile Knot is essentially an arch. It’s a double arch because the smile knot has an upper and a bottom lip. The double arch adds amazing strength to the suture. The strength also varies if you add lip fillers. This is definitely NOT a weak knot!”

Dr. Silk hopes to have FDA approval for the Smile Knot in the next 3 months.

“My patients really appreciate when the Smile Knot is used for internal sutures. Patients literally have a smile starting from the inside out. This has got to give patients a more positive outlook and a more positive view on patient satisfaction surveys,” says Dr. Silk.

Dr. Jennifer Snooz, Chair of Anesthesiology at Venture Hospital weighed in on the Smile Knot. “I think the Smile Knot might be revolutionary. One of my patients recently had a laparoscopic appendectomy, and she woke up giggling. I have never seen this before in my 15 years in practice. It had to be the knot; I mean — I’m not giving my patients laughing gas.”

Dr. Silk looks forward to changing the way medical professionals view how suture is used. Hopefully more patients are smiling from the inside.




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