ScienceDaily (Mar. 18, 2010) — Using metal staples to close wounds after orthopaedic (joint) surgery can lead to a greater risk of infection than using traditional nylon sutures, concludes a study published on the British Medical Journal website.
Orthopaedic surgeons are therefore advised to reconsider their use of staples to close wounds after hip or knee surgery while further trials are carried out to confirm these findings.
The trials involved 683 wounds; 322 patients underwent suture closure and 351 staple closure. Overall, the risk of developing a superficial wound infection was over three times greater after staple closure than suture closure.
For hip surgery only, the risk of developing a wound infection was four times greater after staple closure than suture closure
The authors point out that the quality of evidence was generally poor and they call for high quality, well designed trials to confirm their findings. However, based on the current evidence, they suggest that patients and doctors should think more carefully about the use of staples for wound closure after hip and knee surgery.