Introduction: The Aberdeen knot has been shown to be stronger and more secure than a surgeon's knot for ending a suture line. No data exist as to the ideal configuration of the Aberdeen knot. The Royal College of Surgeons of England in their Basic Surgical Skills Course, 2002 recommended six throws. The aim of this experiment is to find the ideal combination of throws and turns.
Materials and methods: Aberdeen knots of various configurations were tied in 0-PDS suture (Ethicon, Johnson and Johnson). Each configuration was tied 10 times. A materials testing machine was used to test the knots to destruction in a standardised manner.
Results: The knots were seen to behave in two ways. They either slipped and unravelled, or broke. Knots tied with fewer than three throws were unreliable. Knots tied with three throws and two turns appear to be the strongest configuration. Adding further throws and turns does not increase the strength of an Aberdeen knot.
Conclusions: An Aberdeen knot tied with three throws and two turns is the ultimate Aberdeen knot.