Is Wider Suture Spacing Associated With Better Postsurgical Outcomes?

Cutaneous suture spacing of either 2 mm or 5 mm resulted in similar cosmetic outcomes for patients.

The following article is part of conference coverage from the 2019 American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Dermatology Advisor’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in dermatology. Check back for the latest news from AAD 2019.

Cutaneous suture spacing of either 2 mm or 5 mm resulted in similar cosmetic outcomes for patients with surgical fusiform wounds, according to research presented at the 2019 American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting, held March 1-5 in Washington, DC.

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, conducted a prospective, randomized, evaluator blinded study in an effort to compare outcomes and wound cosmesis in 50 trial participants (mean age, 71 years; 96% male). Patients had head or neck surgical fusiform wounds as a result of either a Mohs micrographic procedure or a surgical excision and a predicted closure length of 3 cm. All patients received running cuticular closure; half of each wound was sutured using 2-mm spacing, while the other half was sutured with 5-mm spacing.

At 3 months follow-up, the Patient and Observer Scar Assessment Scale was used by both the patient and by 2 blinded clinical observers to assess pain, itching, color, stiffness, thickness, and irregularities (patients), as well as vascularity, pigmentation, thickness, relief, pliability, and surface area (clinical observers).

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Researchers found “no statistically significant difference in wound cosmesis or total complications” in either 2-mm of 5-mm spacing. They noted that both techniques resulted in similar outcomes and complication rates. They did note the potential benefits of wider spaced cutaneous sutures, including decreased procedure time, decreased suture material used, and decreased skin trauma, but added that “these potential benefits were not part of the study design and need future studies to confirm.”

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Sklar LR, Pourang A, Armstrong AW, Dhaliwal SK, Sivamani RK, Eisen DB. Running cutaneous suture spacing during linear wound closures and the effect on wound cosmesis: a randomized evaluator blind split-wound comparative effectiveness trial. Presented at: American Academy of Dermatology 2019 Annual Meeting. March 1-5, 2019; Washington, DC. Abstract F056.