I hope it's okay to ask a layman question here. I am translating one of the episodes of Grey's Anatomy (S5E9) and came upon this dialogue:

Dr. Bailey: OK, yeah, that's right. Grey, tie it off while Yang holds the clamp in place.

Dr. Grey: Stick-tie or ligature suture?

Dr. Bailey: Whatever works. You have to do what feels right to you.

Dr. Grey: Ligature suture.

I think stick-tie is a type of suture, am I right? Does it have a full name or official name (is stick-tie colloquial)? Another (and my real) problem is the term ligature suture. I can't find what it is... I found that stick-tie is actually "suture ligature," but here it mentions ligature suture and apparently differentiates the two terms. Thanks in advance!

  • It may not be good to assume medical TV dramas are accurate.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 15:17
  • 1
    I don't assume it's accurate. I just need to translate it as it is or at lease make the translation make sense.
    – Olivia Lo
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 15:38
  • We translators cannot change much of what the text says.
    – Olivia Lo
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 15:38
  • Sometimes you might have to in order to have it make sense. In particular, many words have no translation.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 15:39
  • A quick google shows that there are explanations of both terms readily available, including demonstrations of them on youtube. Your question needs more research.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 18:23

1 Answer 1


I am not familiar with the particular media you have referenced, but there are many suture techniques that have been taught to generations of medical students from Ethicon (a manufacturer of sutures) with their Knot Tying Manual.

As someone credentialed in many surgical procedures, but not actually a surgeon, I will admit that neither of the terms used are things I would consider uttering. However, what I believe would be referred to as a "stick tie" is actually a ligature suture where the bleeding vessel is clamped with a hemostat and a loop of suture is tied around the tip of the hemostat (see page 27 of the link above). In my practice of emergency medicine, the much more common method of ligation for bleeding vessels is a figure-of-eight suture. It is very infrequent for someone such as myself to be able to actually grab a large vessel with hemostats and to be the person to definitively manage the wound.

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