Suture Compared With Staple Closure of Skin Incision for High-Order Cesarean Deliveries

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To compare wound complication rates in tertiary or higher-order cesarean delivery based on wound closure technique.


We performed a retrospective cohort study of all tertiary or higher-order cesarean deliveries performed by one group practice in a large academic medical center from 2005 to 2017. We excluded patients with a vertical skin incision. Although the study was not randomized, wound closure type was relatively uniform in this practice and based on time period: before 2011, the preferred closure was staple closure; after 2011, subcuticular suture closure was preferred. All patients received preoperative antibiotics and closure of subcutaneous tissue 2 cm deep or greater. The primary outcome was a wound complication, defined as a wound infection requiring antibiotics or a wound separation requiring wound packing or reclosure any time up to 6 weeks after delivery. Regression analysis was used to control for any significant differences at baseline between the groups.


There were 551 patients with tertiary or higher-order cesarean delivery, 192 (34.8%) of whom had staple closure and 359 (65.2%) of whom had suture closure. Suture closure was associated with a significantly lower rate of wound complication (4.7% [17/359, 95% CI 3.0%–7.5%] vs 11.5% [22/192, 95% CI 7.7%–16.7%], P=.003). On regression analysis controlling for the number of prior cesarean deliveries and the participation of a resident in the closure, suture closure remained independently associated with a lower risk of a wound complication (adjusted odds ratio 0.44, 95% CI 0.23–0.86).


For women undergoing their third or higher-order cesarean delivery, suture closure is associated with a lower rate of wound complications.

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