Ligature (medicine)

Visual Demonstration

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.


The principle of ligation is attributed to Hippocrates and Galen,[1][2] 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.


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.

Ligature is one of the remedies to treat skin tag, or acrochorda. It is done by tying string or dental floss around the acrochordon to cut off the blood circulation.[4] Home remedies include commercial ligation bands that can be placed around the base of skin tags.[5]

See also


  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. ^ "Cutaneous skin tag". Medline Plus. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  5. ^ "Skin tag removal: Optional but effective" (Harvard Medical School, March 23, 2020)