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BJOG. 2008 Mar;115(4):472-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2007.01637.x.

Postpartum perineal repair performed by midwives: a randomised trial comparing two suture techniques leaving the skin unsutured.

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  • 1Perinatal Epidemiology Research Unit, Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, Aarhus, Denmark.



To compare a continuous suture technique with interrupted stitches using inverted knots for postpartum perineal repair of second-degree lacerations and episiotomies.


A double-blind randomised controlled trial.


A Danish university hospital with more than 4800 deliveries annually.


A total of 400 healthy primiparous women with a vaginal delivery at term. METHOD Randomisation was computer-controlled. Structured interviews and systematic assessment of perineal healing were performed by research midwives blinded to treatment allocation at 24-48 hours, 10 days and 6 months postpartum. Pain was evaluated using a visual analogue scale and the McGill Pain Questionnaire. Wound healing was evaluated using the REEDA scale and by assessment of gaping wounds >0.5 cm. Analysis complied with the intention-to-treat principle.


The primary outcome was perineal pain 10 days after delivery. Secondary outcomes were wound healing, patient satisfaction, dyspareunia, need for resuturing, time elapsed during repair and amount of suture material used.


A total of 400 women were randomised; 5 women withdrew their consent, leaving 395 for follow up. The follow-up rate was 98% for all assessments after delivery. No difference was seen in perineal pain 10 days after delivery. No difference was seen in wound healing, patient satisfaction, dyspareunia or need for resuturing. The continuous suture technique was significantly faster (15 versus 17 minutes, P = 0.03) and less suture material was used (one versus two packets, P < 0.01).


Interrupted, inverted stitches for perineal repair leaving the skin unsutured appear to be equivalent to the continuous suture technique in relation to perineal pain, wound healing, patient satisfaction, dyspareunia and need for resuturing. The continuous technique, however, is faster and requires less suture material, thus leaving it the more cost-effective of the two techniques evaluated.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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