Comparison of staples vs subcuticular suture in class III obese women undergoing cesarean: a randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Obesity is a risk factor for infectious morbidity and wound complications after cesarean delivery. There are currently insufficient data to determine optimal skin closure technique for cesarean delivery, specifically for those women with class III obesity, defined as a body mass index ≥40 kg/m2.

OBJECTIVE:

We sought to compare stainless steel staples vs subcuticular suture for skin closure for cesarean delivery in class III obese women with body mass index ≥40 kg/m2.

STUDY DESIGN:

We conducted a randomized controlled trial at 2 teaching hospitals from 2015 through 2016 in which women with body mass index ≥40 kg/m2 undergoing cesarean delivery were randomly assigned to stainless steel staples or subcuticular suture skin closure. The primary outcome was composite wound complication defined as superficial or deep separation and infection occurring up to 6 weeks following delivery. Secondary outcomes included operative time, and patient pain and satisfaction scores.

RESULTS:

A total of 242 women were enrolled. In all, 119 in the staples group and 119 in the subcuticular suture group were analyzed. Maternal demographics and characteristics were similar in both groups. The composite wound complication frequency was 19.3% in the staples group and 17.6% in the subcuticular suture group (P = .74) with an overall wound complication incidence of 18.5% in the entire study cohort. There were also no differences in the frequencies of infection, or in superficial or deep wound separation between the 2 study groups. In a univariate analysis of predictors of wound complications, only current tobacco use was a significant predictor of wound complications (relative risk, 4.97; 95% confidence interval, 1.37–18.03; P = .02). Fewer women with staple closure would choose the same method with a future delivery (P = .01), however, self-reported pain and concern about wound healing were equal between the 2 groups.

CONCLUSION:

In class III obese women undergoing cesarean delivery, there was no difference in composite wound outcome up to 6 weeks postpartum between those who had staples and those who had subcuticular suture skin closure.

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