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Br J Surg. 2002 Nov;89(11):1350-6.

Meta-analysis of techniques for closure of midline abdominal incisions.

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Department of General Surgery, Erasmus University Medical Centre Rotterdam - Dijkzigt, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



Various randomized studies have evaluated techniques of abdominal fascia closure but controversy remains, leaving surgeons uncertain about the optimal method of preventing incisional hernia.


Medline and Embase databases were searched. All trials with a follow-up of at least 1 year that randomized patients with midline laparotomies to closure of the fascia by different suture techniques and/or suture materials were subjected to meta-analysis. Primary outcome was incisional hernia; secondary outcomes were wound dehiscence, wound infection, wound pain and suture sinus formation.


Fifteen studies were identified with a total of 6566 patients. Closure by continuous rapidly absorbable suture was followed by significantly more incisional hernias than closure by continuous slowly absorbable suture (P < 0.009) or non-absorbable suture (P = 0.001). No difference in incisional hernia incidence was found between slowly absorbable and non-absorbable sutures (P = 0.75), but more wound pain (P < 0.005) and more suture sinuses (P = 0.02) occurred after the use of non-absorbable suture. Similar outcomes were observed with continuous and interrupted sutures, but continuous sutures took less time to insert.


To reduce the incidence of incisional hernia without increasing wound pain or suture sinus frequency, slowly absorbable continuous sutures appear to be the optimal method of fascial closure.

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