Subcuticular sutures versus staples for skin closure after primary hip arthroplasty


total hip arthroplasty ; total joint arthroplasty ; skin closure ; meta-analysis

Published online: Jun 15 2021

Hany Elbardesy, Rehan Gul, Shane Guerin

From the Department of trauma and orthopaedic, Cork University Hospital, Cork, Ireland


High-quality and cost-effective health care are highly recommended especially in joint replacement surgeries, particularly in total hip arthroplasty. Therefore, it is indispensable for orthopaedic surgeons to spot the potential areas of quality improvement. Evaluating the efficacy of the different ways of skin closure is an unacknowledged topic.

We performed this study following both the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta- analyses Statement (PRISMA) and the Cochrane Handbook for systematic reviews and meta-analysis. Articles were from any country, written in any language. We included all randomised control trials and retrospective cohort studies undergoing primary total hip arthroplasty who either received staples or subcuticular sutures for skin closure. The primary outcome was the incidence of wound infection. Secondary outcomes included length of stay (LOS), time to skin closure, total cost, and patient’s satisfaction.

We included five studies in our cumulative meta- analysis. We conducted them using Review Manager V.5.0. We computed the risk ratio as a measure of the treatment effect, taking into account heterogeneity. We used Random-effect models. Primary skin closure with subcuticular sutures had insignificant marginal advantages for wound infections, LOS, and wound oozing. On the contrary, staples were more cost- effective and had less time for closure with higher patient’s satisfaction.

Except for closure time and patient satisfaction , no significant difference between the two groups. The use of staples after THA may have several slight clinical advantages over the subcuticular sutures.

However, owing to the complexities associated with wound closure, future clinical and laboratory studies assessing their complication outlines must be examined before an optimum technique can be determined.