Give Your Christmas Turkey Plastic Surgery

Applying skin staples to the turkey. Courtesy Dr. Denis Verwilghen.

Throw out your kitchen twine and forget your trussing techniques.  Surgical staples are the newest way to keep stuffing inside a Christmas turkey, according to research published in the Veterinary Record.  The staples hold the stuffing inside of the bird while keeping the skin intact.

Researchers from the study deboned and stuffed 15 turkeys averaging 3.56 kilograms (7.83 pounds) each.  They randomly applied five different types of surgical suturing techniques to the birds.  Then, the turkeys were baked at 180 degrees Celsius (356 F)  for two hours until the center of the turkey reached 76 degrees Celsius (168.8 F).

The Utrecht pattern, a suture technique commonly used for cow wombs after Caesarean sections, was found to be the best way to stitch up the turkey before baking.

Once baked, and the sutures removed, the birds that were stapled held up the best.  The other methods that were used damaged the turkey skin when they were removed.  The results were graded, and stapling scored the lowest on skin breakage and highest on cosmetic appearance.

While stapling is considered safe, the authors point out that the staples are indigestible, so take care not to leave one in.

Would you use surgical staples to prepare your holiday turkey?  Is it worth the additional effort?  Tell us.

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