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Use of 5-0 Fast Absorbing Gut versus 6-0 Fast Absorbing Gut during cutaneous wound closure on the head and neck: A randomized evaluator-blinded split-wound comparative effectiveness trial.

BACKGROUND: Absorbable suture material (Fast Absorbing Gut [FG], Ethicon, Somerville NJ) is often used for patient convenience; however, the optimal diameter of FG sutures is debatable.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether the use of 6-0 FG during repair of linear cutaneous surgery wounds on the head and neck improves scar cosmesis compared with the use of 5-0 FG.

METHODS: This was a prospective, randomized, split-scar intervention in patients undergoing repair of linear cutaneous wounds on the head and neck. The scar was assessed 3 months after surgery via the Physician Observer Scar Assessment Scale (POSAS), a validated instrument.

RESULTS: The difference in the sum of the POSAS component scores for 6-0 FG (12.03) compared with that for 5-0 FG (13.11) was not statistically significant (P = .26). Observer overall opinion was similar for both interventions, at 2.49 for 6-0 FG vs 2.64 for 5-0 FG (P = .54). The difference in the number of complications in the 5-0 FG group (15) vs the 6-0 FG group (10) was not statistically significant (P = .40).

LIMITATIONS: Single-center study with wounds limited to the head and neck in white individuals, with a predominance of men.

CONCLUSION: For linear repair of cutaneous wounds, 6-0 FG was not statistically different for cosmetic outcomes, scar width, and complications compared with 5-0 FG.

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