SUTURING
SWEAT GLANDS
SUBCUTICULAR STITCH
INTERRUPTED STITCHES
suturing The closing of a surgical inci-
sion or a wound by sutures (stitches) to
promote healing. This may be done by
means of a single stitch under the skin
(subcuticular) or by using individual
stitches (interrupted). Some materials
used in suturing, such as catgut, eventu-
ally dissolve in the body; skin sutures
made of other materials are removed
about
1-2
weeks after insertion,
swab A wad of absorbent material used
to apply antiseptics or soak up body flu-
ids during surgery, or to obtain a sample
of bacteria from an infected patient,
swallowing The process by which food
or liquid is conveyed from the mouth to
the stomach via the oesophagus. Once
food has been chewed and mixed with
saliva to form a bolus, the tongue push-
es the bolus to the back of the mouth
and the voluntary muscles in the palate
push it into the throat. The rest of the
swallowing process occurs by a series of
reflexes.
Entry of food into the throat
causes the epiglottis to tilt down to seal
the trachea and the soft palate to move
back in order to close off the naval cavi-
ty. The throat muscles push the food
into the oesophagus. Waves of contrac-
tion (peristalsis) along the oesophagus
propel the food towards the stomach.
swallowing difficulty A common symp-
tom
with
various
possible
causes,
including a foreign object in the throat;
insufficient production of saliva (see
mouth
, (±
3
/); a disorder of the oesophagus
such as
oesophageal stricture
; pressure
on the oesophagus, for example from a
goitre;
a nervous system disorder such as
myasthenia gravis
or
stroke;
or a psycho-
logical problem such as
globus hystericus.
Investigations of swallowing difficulty
may include
oesophagoscopy
or barium
swallow (see
barium X-ray examinations).
Treatment depends on the cause.
swamp fever Another name for
lepto-
spirosis.
The term is also sometimes
applied to
malaria.
sweat glands Structures deep within the
skin
that produce sweat, which is mainly
water with some dissolved substances,
including salt. There are 2 types of sweat
glands: eccrine glands, which are most
numerous and open directly on to the
skin surface, and apocrine glands, which
develop at puberty. Apocrine glands,
which open into a hair follicle, occur only
SWALLOWING
Oesophagus
Trachea
FOOD IN MOUTH
FOOD IN THROAT
534
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