The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 32, Issue 9, 2920 - 2927

A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review Evaluating Skin Closure After Total Knee Arthroplasty—What Is the Best Method?

Kim, Kelvin Y. et al.


Many cost drivers of total knee arthroplasty (TKA) have been critically evaluated to meet the heightened quality-associated expectations of performance-based care. However, assessing the efficacy of the different modalities of skin closure has been an underappreciated topic. The present study aims to provide further insight by conducting a meta-analysis and systematic review evaluating the rates of common complications and perioperative quality outcomes associated with different suture and staple skin closure techniques after TKA.


The present study was conducted in accordance with both the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses Statement and the Cochrane Handbook for meta-analyses and systematic reviews. Primary outcome measures evaluated rates of common complications associated with primary TKA. Secondary outcome measures evaluated wound closure time, direct surgical costs, and cosmetic and knee function outcomes.


Our meta-analysis demonstrated that skin sutures had a higher likelihood of superficial and deep infections, abscess formation, and wound dehiscence. Conversely, staples had a higher tendency for prolonged wound discharge. A systematic review of wound closure times and overall resource utilization demonstrated that wound closure was faster and more cost-effective with skin staples than sutures.


Primary skin incision closure with staples demonstrated lower wound complications, decreased wound closure times, and an overall reduction in resource utilization. Given these outcomes, the use of staples after TKA may have several subtle clinical advantages over sutures.

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