A suturing device including a pair of arms having a set of adjacent ends movable toward and away from each other for engaging opposite sides of tissue therebetween. One of the arms has a needle-holding channel formed therein which opens at one end in the direction of the other arm. A manually operable needle driving member is mounted for movement on the one arm to drive a needle from the channel, through the tissue, and into the region of the other arm. The other, or second, arm has a needle receiving chamber therein for receiving the pointed end of the needle driven through the tissue. A rotatable needle holding element adjacent the needle receiving chamber is shiftable between a release position permitting entry of the needle into the chamber and a holding position in which it grips and holds the needle in the chamber. The needle holding element is operatively connected to a manually operable handle mounted on the second arm, which handle is shiftable between released and holding positions for producing corresponding shifting of the holding element. The operator handle is spring biased from its release toward its holding position, following initial displacement from its release position. A tissue engaging element mounted on the second arm is operable to engage and force tissue over the shank of the needle to insure full passage of the needle through the tissue when the arms are swung away from each other. A needle retracting device on the first arm is operable to receive and grip a needle when the driving element is extended, and on retraction of the driving element grips the needle to draw it into the needle holding channel.