The Search for an Ideal Method of Abdominal Fascial Closure
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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: The ideal suture for abdominal fascial closure has yet to be determined. Surgical practice continues to rely largely on tradition rather than high-quality level I evidence. The authors conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to determine which suture material and technique reduces the odds of incisional hernia. METHODS: MEDLINE and Cochrane Library databases were searched for articles in English published from 1966 to 1998 using the keywords "suture", "abdomen/surgery", and "randomized controlled trials". Randomized controlled trials, trials of adult patients, and trials with a Jadad Quality Score of more than 3, comparing suture materials, technique, or both, were included. Two independent reviewers critically appraised study quality and extracted data. The reviewers were masked to the study site, authors, journal, and date to minimize bias. The primary outcome was postoperative incisional hernia. Secondary outcomes included wound dehiscence, infection, wound pain, and suture sinus formation. RESULTS: The occurrence of incisional hernia was significantly lower when nonabsorbable sutures were used. Suture technique favored nonabsorbable continuous closure. Suture sinuses and wound pain were significantly lower when absorbable sutures were used. There were no differences in the incidence of wound dehiscence or wound infection with respect to suture material or method of closure. Subgroup analyses of individual sutures showed no significant difference in incisional hernia rates between polydioxanone and polypropylene. Polyglactin showed an increased wound failure rate. CONCLUSIONS: Abdominal fascial closure with a continuous nonabsorbable suture had a significantly lower rate of incisional hernia. The ideal suture is nonabsorbable, and the ideal technique is continuous.