Ligature (medicine)

In surgery or medical procedure, a ligature consists of a piece of thread (suture) tied around an anatomical structure, usually a blood vessel or another hollow structure (e.g. urethra) to shut it off.

Visual Demonstration

Blood vesselEdit

With a blood vessel the surgeon will clamp the vessel perpendicular to the axis of the artery or vein with a hemostat, then secure it by ligating it; i.e. using a piece of suture around it before dividing the structure and releasing the hemostat. It is different from a tourniquet in that the tourniquet will not be secured by knots and it can therefore be released/tightened at will.


The principle of ligation is attributed to Hippocrates and Galen,[1][2] later reintroduced some 1,500 years later by Ambroise Paré,[3] and finally it found its modern use in 1870–80, made popular by Jules-Émile Péan.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Lois N. Magner (1992). A History of Medicine. CRC Press. p. 91.
  2. ^ Greenblatt, Samuel; Dagi, T.; Epstein, Mel (1997-01-01). A History of Neurosurgery: In its Scientific and Professional Contexts. Thieme. p. 203. ISBN 9781879284173. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  3. ^ Paget, Stephen (1897). Ambroise Paré and his times, 1510-1590. G.P. Putnam's Sons. p. 23. Retrieved 2 November 2012.

4. Dunn DL, Phillips J, 2005 Wound Closure Manual, Ethicon, INC, Somerville, NJ