Tissue adhesive versus suture wound repair at 1 year: randomized clinical trial correlating early, 3-month, and 1-year cosmetic outcome

J Quinn, G Wells, T Sutcliffe, M Jarmuske, J Maw, I Stiell, P Johns
Annals of Emergency Medicine 1998, 32 (6): 645-9

STUDY OBJECTIVE: To compare the 1-year cosmetic outcome of wounds treated with octylcyanoacrylate tissue adhesive and monofilament sutures and to correlate the early, 3-month, and 1-year cosmetic outcomes.

METHODS: We prospectively randomized 136 cases of traumatic laceration to repair with octylcyanoacrylate tissue adhesive or 5-0 or smaller monofilament suture. A wound score was assigned by a research nurse, and validated by a second nurse blinded to the treatment, at 5 to 10 days after injury (early), 3 months, and 1 year. Standardized photographs were taken at 3 months and 1 year and shown to a cosmetic surgeon blinded to the method of closure, who rated the wounds on a validated cosmesis scale.

RESULTS: We were able to examine 77 lacerations at 1 year for follow-up. No differences were found in the demographic or clinical characteristics between groups. Likewise, at 1 year no difference was found in the optimal wound scores (73% versus 68%, P =.60) or in visual analog scale cosmesis scores (69 versus 69 mm, P =.95) for octylcyanoacrylate and sutures, respectively. Agreement was poor between early and 3-month wound scores (kappa=.34; 95% confidence interval [CI],.10 to.58) but a strong association existed between 3-month and 1-year wound scores (kappa=.71; 95% CI,.52 to.90). We noted a moderate correlation between 3-month and 1-year results on the visual analog cosmesis scale (intraclass correlation,.48; 95% CI, .30 to.63).

CONCLUSION: One year after wound repair, no difference is noted in the cosmetic outcomes of traumatic lacerations treated with octylcyanoacrylate tissue adhesive and sutures. The assessment of wounds 3 months after injury and wound repair provides a good measure of long-term cosmetic outcome.

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