Efficacy of secondary vs primary closure techniques for the prevention of postoperative complications after impacted mandibular third molar extractions Academic Article uri icon

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  • Background

    The aim of this systematic review was to determine whether secondary closure (SC) or primary closure (PC) is better at preventing postoperative complications after impacted mandibular third-molar extraction.

    Types of studies reviewed

    The authors sought randomized controlled trials comparing the effects of PC and SC on pain, swelling, trismus, infection, and bleeding after impacted mandibular third-molar extraction. Screening, data extraction, and risk of bias assessments were conducted independently and in duplicate. The reviewers pooled results across studies using a random-effects meta-analysis and assessed the certainty of the evidence using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation approach.


    This review identified 785 unique citations and included 40 trials. Compared with PC, SC was found to have trivial benefits for pain at day 7 and trismus within 1 week (moderate certainty). The incidence of infection and bleeding did not differ importantly between techniques (moderate certainty). However, SC is probably associated with less swelling on day 1 (standardized mean difference, -0.98; 95% CI, -1.22 to -0.73; moderate certainty) and day 3 (standardized mean difference, -0.87; 95% CI, -1.16 to -0.59; moderate certainty). There was very low certainty evidence for pain on days 1 and 3 and low certainty evidence for swelling on day 7.

    Conclusions and practical implications

    Clinicians choosing between closure techniques should be aware that SC probably imparts an important benefit only for swelling at days 1 and 3. There seems to be a trivial difference between the techniques in other outcomes.


  • Azab, Maria
  • Ibrahim, Sara
  • Li, Allan
  • Khosravirad, Azin
  • Carrasco-Labra, Alonso
  • Zeng, Linan
  • Brignardello, Romina

publication date

  • October 2022