Staples or Sutures after Cesarean Section?

Posted by on Jun 23, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Pregnant momCesarean section or C-section is a surgical method to deliver an infant and it has been on the rise in the last two decades in the United States. It is estimated that more than 30 percent of deliveries occur via C-section today. C-section is required when the baby is too large or in a breech position or the baby is in distress. Doctors may decide to do C-section when the labor does not progress as time goes by or placenta separates from the uterus before the baby (placental abruption) or in a medical emergency.

Some of the planned C-sections are due to mother’s request as a preferred method of delivery. In any case, there are two ways to make skin incision. One is horizontal (bikini line) and the other is vertical (midline). Bikini line incision is more common because of less pain after the delivery and it heals faster. Uterine incision can also be horizontal or vertical and it depends on many factors. The goal is to deliver the baby quickly without causing trauma.

After the delivery, there are two options for closing the belly skin. Doctors can either use staples or sutures. Studies are being conducted to see which method has a better outcome and greater patient satisfaction. In one study, researchers compared wound infection rate after closure with staples or subcuticular sutures (sutures in the fatty layer below the skin). They found that women from staples group have increased rate of wound disruption or infection at 4 to 6 weeks after the C-section. No significant differences were reported in terms of pain, cosmetic appeal and patient satisfaction between women who received staples and those who received sutures.

Furthermore, researchers compared wound complications after closing the belly skin with staples or subcuticular sutures in the two groups. Again, they found a higher chance of wound complications among staples group compared to sutures group. In conclusion, suture is less likely to cause wound disruption, infection or complications. Even though it requires additional 10 minutes to close the belly skin with sutures, it seems to be a better method.

Contributed by Patricia Hsiao M.D.
Sources: mayoclinic.com, nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, uptodate.com

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