Researchers from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia believe to have settled a longstanding debate over how to close a C-section, sutures trumping staples by a whopping 57 percent decrease in wound complications.
Although C-sections have become common in the developed world, accounting for a third of live births in the United States and nearly 50 percent of births in China, doctors never quite settled the debate and some say staples work better on overweight women.
"There has been ongoing debate in the field about the use of sutures versus staples," says senior author Vincenzo Berghella, M.D., director of Maternal Fetal Medicine in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Thomas Jefferson University. He added, "C-sections are a common procedure in the United States, and yet we still haven't established the best way to close these incisions."
The study is the largest of its kind and researchers from three hospitals worked with 746 women who gave birth via caesarean section.
Researchers divided participants equally into "stitches" and "staples" groups, making sure overweight women were equally represented.
They also ensured the mothers were equally represented concerning prior caesarean experience, eliminating the possibility of differences in results due to the aforementioned factors.
Results showed 40 out of 376 women had complications with their staples, while only 18 of 370 experienced troubles after having been sutured.
Incisions that had been sutured were 80 percent less likely to re-open more than 1cm than were those closed with staples.
The authors cite a 2013 study that, given the above data, reflects a disturbing trend of doctors preferring staples for their personal convenience such as ease of use and the nine minutes of time saved, on average.
"Based on these results, we recommend that C-section incisions be closed with stitches rather than staples," says Dr. Berghella, who has authored several evidence-based guidelines for Obstetrics and Gynecology and is also the current president of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.
in the journal Obstet-Gynacol, researchers hope their study will lead to safer choices on the part of doctors and their patients alike.