Women who deliver by cesarean section seem to have similar cosmetic results whether the wound is closed with stitches or staples, a new study suggests.
There are a number of ways that surgeons can close a C-section wound — using staples or different types of stitches, including ones that need to be removed and those cosmetic one made of materials that are absorbed into the body. But little has been known about whether the cosmetic results vary with the different methods.
For the new study, Italian researchers randomly assigned 180 women undergoing a C-section to have one of four methods of wound closure: staples or one of three types of sutures, including absorbable stitches and stitches that had to be removed.
After two and six months, the study found, there were no overall differences among the groups' cosmetic results — based on both an independent plastic surgeon's ratings and the women's own perceptions of their scar healing.
The findings suggest that women who have a C- section can expect to get similar aesthetic results regardless of the type of wound closure, lead researcher Dr Antonella Cromi, of the University of Insubria in Varese, Italy. That said, though, results do vary from patient to patient, and they also depend on factors other than the use of staples versus stitches.
Women with darker skin, for example, are more likely than light- skinned women to form keloids — an area of raised, sometimes itchy or painful, scar tissue. In addition, smokers and women with certain medical conditions — such as diabetes or any condition that requires use of certain kinds of steroids — can have poorer scar healing than other women, Cromi noted.
The decision over how to close a C-section incision has traditionally been the surgeon's. Staples are often favored because the method is faster than stitching, which may be better for patients, and protects the doctor from needle-stick accidents.
On the other hand, some women may prefer absorbable sutures since they do not have to be removed.