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Subcutaneous tissue reapproximation, alone or in combination with drain, in obese women undergoing cesarean delivery

Patrick S Ramsey, Anna M White, Debra A Guinn, George C Lu, Susan M Ramin, Jill K Davies, Cherry L Neely, Crystal Newby, Linda Fonseca, Ashley S Case, Richard A Kaslow, Russell S Kirby, Dwight J Rouse, John C Hauth
Obstetrics and Gynecology 2005, 105 (5 Pt 1): 967-73

OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy of subcutaneous suture reapproximation alone with suture plus subcutaneous drain for the prevention of wound complications in obese women undergoing cesarean delivery.

METHODS: We conducted a multicenter randomized trial of women undergoing cesarean delivery. Consenting women with 4 cm or more of subcutaneous thickness were randomized to either subcutaneous suture closure alone (n = 149) or suture plus drain (n = 131). The drain was attached to bulb suction and removed at 72 hours or earlier if output was less than 30 mL/24 h. The primary study outcome was a composite wound morbidity rate (defined by any of the following: subcutaneous tissue dehiscence, seroma, hematoma, abscess, or fascial dehiscence).

RESULTS: From April 2001 to July 2004, a total of 280 women were enrolled. Ninety-five percent of women (268/280) had a follow-up wound assessment. Both groups were similar with respect to age, race, parity, weight, cesarean indication, diabetes, steroid/antibiotic use, chorioamnionitis, and subcutaneous thickness. The composite wound morbidity rate was 17.4% (25/144) in the suture group and 22.7% (28/124) in the suture plus drain group (relative risk 1.3, 95% confidence interval 0.8-2.1). Individual wound complication rates, including subcutaneous dehiscence (15.3% versus 21.8%), seroma (9.0% versus 10.6%), hematoma (2.2% versus 2.4%), abscess (0.7% versus 3.3%), fascial dehiscence (1.4% versus 1.7%), and hospital readmission for wound complications (3.5% versus 6.6%), were similar (P > .05) between women treated with suture alone and those treated with suture plus drain, respectively.

CONCLUSION: The additional use of a subcutaneous drain along with a standard subcutaneous suture reapproximation technique is not effective for the prevention of wound complications in obese women undergoing cesarean delivery.

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