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Discrepancy in the use and interpretation of marker sutures among plastic surgeons and pathologists
  1. Elizabeth Jones1,
  2. Chantal Patel2,
  3. Vivek Mudaliar3,
  4. Amir Ismail4
  1. 1 Vascular Surgery, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Truro, UK
  2. 2 Plastic Surgery, Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, Basildon, Essex, UK
  3. 3 Pathology, University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
  4. 4 Plastic Surgery, University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elizabeth Jones, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Truro TR1 3LJ, UK; libbyjones95{at}


Marker sutures are often used for excised cutaneous lesions to aid histological analysis, however, there are no current guidelines to facilitate this in practice. The authors hypothesised that a lack of guidelines causes a variation in clinical practice and confusion of meaning between plastic surgeons and pathologists. This questionnaire-based study confirms the authors’ hypothesis and highlights a discrepancy both between surgeons and in individual surgical practice. More importantly, we identify discord between histopathologists and plastic surgeons in relation to marker suture placement and report interpretation, leading to potential undertreatment of patients. This paper adds to the growing literature calling for guidelines regarding marker suture placement for cutaneous excision biopsies.

  • Skin Neoplasms
  • SKIN
  • Skin Diseases

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  • Handling editor Runjan Chetty.

  • Contributors EJ confirms that all authors appropriately contributed to the concept design, data collection, data analysis and report writing and editing. EJ confirms they all deserve authorship as per the author guidelines.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.