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Are There Lower Complication Rates with Bidirectional Barbed Suture in Total Knee Arthroplasty Incision Closure? A Randomized Clinical Trial

Shuo Feng, Ye Zhang, Feng Zhang, Zhi Yang, Xiang-Yang Chen, Guo-Chun Zha

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Affiliated Hospital of Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou, Jiangsu, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e922783

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.922783

Available online: 2020-06-09

Published: 2020-08-05

BACKGROUND: The use of barbed suture in total knee arthroplasty (TKA) remains controversial. We performed a prospective study to investigate the clinical outcomes of bidirectional barbed suture for incision closure in TKA.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We conducted a single-center, randomized controlled trial to determine the efficiency and safety of barbed suture in TKA at our institution between December 2017 and April 2019. Eligible patients were randomly assigned to different suture methods for skin closure. Randomization was conducted via computerized randomization list. Our primary endpoint was the incidence of wound complications within 3 months of surgery. This trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, number ChiCTR-IPR-17013677.
RESULTS: A total of 582 patients were enrolled, consisting of 193 who received full-layer barbed suture (group A), 195 who received barbed suturing of the joint capsule (group B), and 194 who received suturing of the joint capsule by traditional absorbable suture (group C). The incidence of incision complications in group A (19.7%) was significantly higher than that in group B (7.2%) and C (9.3%) (P<0.0125). The incidence rate for incision complications in group B was similar to that in group C (P>0.0125). The time for incision closure in groups A (13.5±2.0 min) and B (16.1±1.9 min) was significantly shorter than that in group C (25.0±2.0 min) (P<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: The use of full-thickness bidirectional barbed suture for incision closure after TKA may increase postoperative incision complications, and therefore is not recommended. However, the use of barbed suture for the joint capsule has shown effectiveness, reducing suture time with no increase in incision complications.

Keywords: Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee, Postoperative Complications, Sutures