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TUESDAY, July 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Women who deliver their baby by cesarean section are less likely to suffer complications if sutures -- rather than staples -- are used to close the incision, a new study says.
"This study clearly shows that women who undergo C-section have fewer wound complications after suture closure than after staple closure," study first author Dr. Dhanya Mackeen, said in a university news release. Mackeen was a fellow at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia at the time of the study.
The study included almost 750 women who had C-sections at three U.S. hospitals. Those whose C-section incisions were closed with sutures (stitches) were 57 percent less likely to develop wound complications than those whose incisions were closed with staples.
Specifically, wound complications occurred in 18 out of 370 women who received sutures and in 40 of the 376 who received staples.
The researchers also found that women in the suture group were 80 percent less likely to have their wound re-open to a size of 1 centimeter (0.4 inches) or more than those in the staples group.
"There has been ongoing debate in the field about the use of sutures versus staples," study senior author Dr. Vincenzo Berghella, director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University, said in the university news release.
"C-sections are a common procedure in the United States, and yet we still haven't established the best way to close these incisions," he noted.
"Based on these results, we recommend that C-section incisions be closed with stitches rather than staples," said Berghella, who is president of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.
C-sections account for about one-third of all deliveries in the United States, and as many as 46 percent of all deliveries in China, according to the researchers. A previous study found that more than 50 percent of doctors prefer to use staples over sutures to close a C-section incision, because staples are easier and faster to use, and better for closing deeper incisions, such as those in overweight women.
On average, suturing takes about nine minutes longer than stapling, the researchers found.
Results of the study were published in a recent issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.
-- Robert Preidt
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